Fighting stigma of HIV: 5k park runs will create awareness ahead of World Aids Day

On Saturday, November, 26, the SHC is hosting a 5k fun run or walk in conjunction with the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme and parkrun, to tackle HIV stigma and encourage people to test regularly.
Fighting stigma of HIV: 5k park runs will create awareness ahead of World Aids Day

Image from Dec. 1, 2018 At the Park Run in Ballincollig Regional Park which coincided with World AIDS Day. The "Cork Front Runners" who took part in the run. Pic: Brian Lougheed

THE Sexual Health Centre (SHC) is putting out a call for ‘ambassadors against HIV stigma’, as it holds its annual World Aids Day run in parks around Cork.

On Saturday, November, 26, the SHC is hosting a 5k fun run or walk in conjunction with the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme and parkrun, to tackle HIV stigma and encourage people to test regularly.

The run marks World Aids day (on December 1), and is being held in Ballincollig Regional Park, Glen River Park, and Tramore Valley Park at 9:30am on November 26, as well as virtually.

Those who take part in the run, or even just support the event through social media, will become “ambassadors against HIV stigma” and will learn about HIV myths, a diagnosis that Martin Davoren, executive director of the SHC, said can be “very challenging”.

“One of the things people living with HIV still experience is stigma in relation to that virus,” Mr Davoren said. 

“It’s a very challenging stigma to live with, and it’s all based on myth, incorrect fact, and societal knowledge that is actually outdated.”

Mr Davoren said that the annual World Aids Day Run grew from 350 people in 2018 to 1,000 last year. They are hoping that 1,000 people will participate again next month, with this year’s slogan being “End HIV Stigma”.

The run busts myths about HIV in the community and gets people talking, but also acknowledges people who have HIV.

“It’s great to see this brought out into a very public forum into a community setting,” Mr Davoren said. “With anything like this, just having the topic and the possibility of talking about ambassadors against HIV stigma, it’s a huge thing for people who are living with HIV.”

It is free to participate in either the in-person or virtual events, and registration includes a free World Aids Day dri-fit top.

For more information, visit https://www.sexualhealthcentre.com/wadrun2022

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