Question: Karen, thank you for agreeing to an interview!
Karen Carney: No problem – you’re welcome!
Q: You’ve recently agreed to be an ambassador for the Saving Lives charity. Can you tell us a little about them?
KC: Saving Lives is an new National HIV awareness charity.
Q: What exactly does that mean ?
KC: Well the aim of Saving Lives is to help the general public learn more about HIV, what it is, how you catch it, how to avoid it, and most importantly to encourage young people to look after themselves and get tested.
Q: OK, that helps! So what is HIV?
KC: Good question! HIV is a virus infection that affects about 100,000 people in the UK, and millions more worldwide. It’s an infection that damages a person’s immune system.
If your immune system is damaged, then you are not able to fight infections and certain cancers and so you can become very sick if the virus isn’t picked up early.
Q: So can you treat it?
KC: Yes – these days there is really good treatment available. Today’s medicines can control the virus and keep people healthy for years – but you have to know you have it in order to get the treatment.
Unfortunately, nearly 1 in 4 people don’t even know they have got it, so they can’t get this life-saving treatment!
Q: So you can have it without even knowing ?
KC: Definitely, some people can be infected for up to 10 years without even knowing it! During that time they can become really ill and pass it on to their partners.
Q: So how do you catch it ?
KC: Well basically, there are 3 ways. Firstly, mums who carry the infection can pass it to their babies if they don’t get treatment during pregnancy. Secondly, you can get it from infected needles. But the most common way to catch it is to have unprotected sex with somebody who has the infection.
Q: Unprotected sex? You mean without condoms ?
KC: Yes – condoms will protect you from all sorts of infections, such as chlamydia and HIV, as well as stopping you from getting pregnant!
Q: So if you have ever had unprotected sex you should take a test ?
KC: Exactly, chances are it will be negative, but you never know – and once you know you are negative then you can keep yourself healthy and look after yourself!
Q: and what if it was positive ?
KC: Well, then you can get lifesaving treatment! So, if you have put yourself at risk, it makes sense to test – it could save your life !
Q: and if your pregnant ?
KC: then it’s even more important to take the test when it’s offered to you, because if you find out you’re positive whilst your pregnant you can take medicine which means the baby won’t catch HIV
Q: So testing for HIV really can save lives ?
KC: Yup – that’s why I’m involved with the charity!
Q: So what can you do as a professional footballer to help saving lives ?
Kaz: Well, simply by promoting the charity and wearing the wrist band, people say to m.e “what’s that about?” It just makes people ask the question, and from there hopefully they will become more aware about HIV, testing for HIV and how to keep themselves healthy.
Secondly, because I know so many footballers from other teams in the country, I can encourage more players to get involved with the charity. Just think, if we could get one or 2 players from each club in the Women’s Super League involved, how many more people would here the Saving Lives message !
Q: Thanks Kas
KC: No worries, happy to help