Page last updated at 01:38 GMT, Monday, 1 December 2008

Dundee event marks World Aids Day

Nick Henderson and Angelina Borgius
The group has handed out condoms and made information videos

Young people in Dundee are encouraging others to learn more about Aids and what they can do to tackle the disease across the world.

Youth End Poverty Dundee is staging what it believes is the biggest event in Scotland to mark World Aids Day.

Talks, videos and information will be available at the Caird Hall before a candle-light vigil is held.

A list of demands for tackling the condition will also be drawn up for world leaders.

Politicians, guests from South Africa, and those with HIV will be among those attending the event.

Project leader Nick Henderson hopes it will give young people, students and other residents the chance to interact with decision-makers and "bust some myths" about HIV/Aids.

He said: "They [his fellow students] don't know how they get it. They hear the words and hear it associated with Africa but they don't really notice that it's anything to do with us back home, in actual fact it can affect anybody and everybody.

"We're going to be presenting an idea that Youth End Poverty has developed for universal testing in Scotland.

"It's called the I Know campaign and it's based on having very large, very visible HIV testing centres on university and college campuses where people can go to get a rapid 20-minute HIV test, they also get the pre and post-test counselling.

People here are embarrassed about getting condoms, so it's a less open society about sex
Angelina Borgius

"You also get a bracelet that's made by poor women in South Africa which says 'I Know' as in 'I know my status' and that should help develop discussions with our friends and family around HIV/Aids."

The young people have been handing out about 500 condoms over recent days and have noticed that many people have been shy to take them.

They have also been questioning fellow students at Dundee University about their attitudes towards Aids.

Angelina Borgius, 24, from Sweden said: "There are quite a lot of people who don't know a lot about Aids, they don't know the connection between HIV and Aids and quite a lot of people are reluctant to talk and are kind of awkward about it.

"I did get some answers back that people that are homeless have Aids and they didn't want to be touched or whatever by people with Aids, so they might be blaming people for being poor and having Aids."

Ms Borgius believes those in her home country are much more willing to discuss safe sex.

She said: "People here are embarrassed about getting condoms, so it's a less open society about sex, which is probably worse if you look at the Aids question."



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