A Heartlands Hospital HIV specialist has secured some big-name sporting stars to raise national awareness of HIV testing services and combat the myths and stigma which still dissuade people from getting tested.
Local hero, Villa striker, Darren Bent and World Champion boxer, Carl Froch are among the stars on board to be ambassadors for the Brum-based charity, Saving Lives, founded by HIV specialist, Dr Steve Taylor. Both will feature in posters and other materials distributed in local GP practices across the country as part of the campaign.
Modern medicine means people living with HIV can have long, healthy lives – but only if they are diagnosed, and treated as early as possible. “HIV can be symptomless for a long time,” explains Dr Steve Taylor, a HIV specialist at Heartlands. “That means it’s very easy for people not to be diagnosed until it’s too late for today’s life-saving treatments to have their best effect. People are still dying of HIV in the UK – but only because they test too late.”
Carl Froch supports the charity ahead of his big fight with WBA super middleweight title-holder, Mikkel Kessler, on May 25. “If people like me who are in the public eye can attract attention to a topic which people might otherwise ignore, that can only be a good thing,” says Froch, who has signed up as a Saving Lives ambassador.
“The message is simple, really,” Froch adds. “Just get tested; it could save your life!”