accessibility & help

Konnie Huq asks: what would it take for you to kiss me?

19th November 2009
For further information please contact

Becky Webb

telephone +44(0)207 877 7039, email: BWebb@redcross.org.uk, out of hours 07659 145 095

or Penny Simms

telephone +44(0)207 877 7044, email: PSims@redcross.org.uk, out of hours 07659 145 095  

Konnie Huq asks: what would it take for you to kiss me?

Red Cross research shows worrying degree of stigma amongst young people

New research published today (19/11/09) by the British Red Cross shows that despite young people in the UK generally having a good understanding of how HIV is transmitted, this is still not translating into positive attitudes and behaviour towards others.

85% of the young people surveyed correctly said that you can’t get HIV from a kiss. In spite of knowing this a shocking 69% said they would still not be willing to kiss someone with HIV.

To help tackle the issue the British Red Cross is launching an exclusive viral video created by Red Bee Media and featuring television presenter and Red Cross Ambassador Konnie Huq.

Konnie said: “Knowing you can’t catch HIV from kissing is one thing but when young people were asked if this was something they would actually do – the majority still said no. The video is a light hearted way of challenging some of the negative assumptions people hold and hopefully forcing them to re-think.”

HIV is having a devastating impact on young people across the globe.  UN figures show that in 2007, around 40% of new infections were in the 15-24 age group and more than 5 million youth are living with the virus, around 60% of whom are girls.

Yet despite these figures, over half of the young people surveyed by the British Red Cross said they were not worried about the risk of HIV.

“The figures are positive in that they show we are succeeding in terms of educating young people on how HIV is transmitted” said Alyson Lewis, Health and Care Team Leader at the British Red Cross.

“Unfortunately this understanding isn’t bringing about the change we would have hoped for in terms of how young people relate to people living with HIV. Sadly, stigma still persists” she continued.

The video, aimed at 15-25 year olds, is designed to challenge young people into questioning the negative associations they hold. It also acts a call to action to young people as it encourages them to sign up as peer educators. The British Red Cross peer educators are young people who train and teach people their own age, covering a range of humanitarian issues, including HIV.

Alyson continued:  “The stigma experienced by people living with HIV is immensely destructive and can further damage people who may already be in a vulnerable state. We need to reinforce the message that you cannot be infected by HIV from everyday contact with people who are HIV-positive. Activities such as sharing a meal or a cup, shaking hands, hugging or kissing, or attending the same workplace, school or event as someone with the virus, will not put you at risk.”

To view the video please go to: www.redcross.org.uk/kiss

ENDS

Notes to editors
Konnie Huq: The Kiss
The video was created by Red Bee Media, an award-winning company with worldwide experience in branding, broadcast design, promotion and cross-platform campaigns.  Experts in creating 360 campaigns, clients include international broadcasters and advertisers across TV, web and mobile such as Discovery International, Nike, Orange, Touch Local, Canal+, ERT, Central China TV, Lonely Planet and the Alzheimer’s Society. Red Bee Media is majority owned by Macquarie Advanced Investment Group, a fund managed by Macquarie Group. For more information visit: www.redbeemedia.com

HIV and young people
UN figures show that in 2007, around 40% of new infections were in the 15-24 age group and more than 5 million youth are living with the virus, around 60% of whom are girls.

Joint action for results: UNAIDS outcome framework 2009-2011. http://www.unaids.org/en/KnowledgeCentre/Resources/FeatureStories/archive/2009/20090603_UNFPA_IATT.asp

Survey
The survey was carried out for the British Red Cross by GfK NOP between 15-20 October 2009, interviewing 261 adults aged 16-25, across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The British Red Cross
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

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