Curtis Davies, Jack Butland, Nathan Redmond and Blues Ladies' Karen Carney have all signed up to be ambassadors for Saving Lives, a National HIV awareness charity which promotes education, awareness and encourages routine HIV testing.
The sport stars appear in the 'Saving Lives Avengers' campaign, which features striking images of the athletes alongside the message that HIV testing saves lives. The posters have already appeared on buses and billboards across Birmingham, and are now moving to key hospitals in London.
"One in four of those with HIV in the UK do not know they are infected," explains Birmingham Heartlands HIV Specialist and the charity's medical director, Dr Steve Taylor. "That means they may be passing on the infection and cannot access today's life-saving treatment, which can give people a full and healthy life."
The campaign hopes to dispel the myths and stigma which still surround HIV. Blues star and Saving Lives Ambassador Davies said: "You hear a lot of silly claims about taking a test damaging your chances of getting insurance or a mortgage, but it's not true. Saving Lives is raising awareness about HIV, how we can control it, and how people can live a long and happy life."
In Birmingham, the campaign was cited by 16% of 1800 sexual health clinic attendees as one of the reason for going for a test - and nearly half of them had no other exposure to sexual health messages. The London campaign is launching at The Royal London Hospital in Whitechaple, an area with five times the national average of people living with HIV that is 6 in every 1000 people are infected. The campaign aims to reduce the number of people who are undiagnosed.
"If you don't get tested, then you can become very ill " added Redmond. "But if you get tested, and you do have HIV, you can still get treatment and live a long, healthy life."
Redmond and Butland in collaboration with doctors at Birmingham Heartlands HIV Service have been helping to make an interactive educational I-book entitled “what is HIV?
” which is due out later this year. Butland explained: “Hopefully by being involved we can help educate people about HIV and try to tackle some of the myths and stigma that still surrounds HIV and prevents people from talking about it or taking the test; ultimately if that helps save lives then I am happy to help."
You can watch Curtis Davies in the Saving Lives Awareness videos here
. More images of the Saving Lives Avengers can be viewed here be viewed at www.pinterest.com/savinglivesuk
. To read more about HIV and the Saving Lives charity, please visit their website at: http://www.savinglivesuk.com/