PRESS RELEASE 23-8-2011
McCarthy and his Wolves pitch in to field national awareness campaign
Mick McCarthy and a team of his top players from Wolverhampton Wanderers have joined the National HIV Saving Lives Trust, leading the way for its football campaign.
Saving Lives is aimed at raising public awareness of the importance of early HIV testing and treatment in order to save lives and reduce HIV transmission. In the UK alone, over 86,000 [on the cards we say 80,000] people are infected with HIV, with over 22,000 of those unaware they are infected – that is 1 in 4 people. The only way to diagnose HIV is through testing, and without a diagnosis life saving treatment can’t be received.
Manager Mick McCarthy has endorsed the Football Saving Lives campaign, saying: “Working with Saving Lives has made me much more aware of the fact that HIV is still out there. It’s a very different situation now compared to back in the 80s, and l now understand that the people who die from HIV are those who don’t get tested, diagnosed and treated – either because they are scared or they don’t think they are at risk.
“It’s like all medical problems we try to pretend it’s not there,” McCarthy continued. “Finding the problem early is the key. I strongly support what Saving Lives is trying to do and encourage my lads to get involved. The players are keen to use their public profile to support Saving Lives.”
Team captain Karl Henry added: “I didn’t realise how easy it was to take an HIV test, it’s a simple blood test and some places offer results within 20 minutes. I think it’s really important to get the message out there and for us to encourage HIV testing. Not knowing means you could be putting your own life at risk, as well as infecting others.”
Dr Steve Taylor, lead HIV consultant at Birmingham’s Heartlands Hospital, helped launch Saving Lives as a way of encouraging the public to access HIV testing. The benefit of having the support of Premier League football clubs to help get the messages out there cannot be underestimated, he explained. Dr Taylor said: “The cooperation of clubs such as Wolves is crucial in reaching people who might not usually be exposed to these vital messages.”
Early treatment means HIV can be well controlled and a person can lead a near normal life expectancy. If left too late, however, the consequences of HIV can still be fatal.
Goalkeeper Wayne Hennesey puts it best: “It’s easier to spot incoming balls than it is to figure out who has HIV. By speaking out in public and supporting Saving Lives, me and the team can play a part in helping Saving Lives score their ultimate goal – making the unaware more aware and encouraging HIV testing.”