An unusual display has been created at Stafford Hospital to help raise public awareness of HIV and AIDS.
A series of costumes made out of paper are on display in the hospital to show that the diseases can affect anyone.
Youngsters from Rawlett High School, Tamworth, and Staffordshire’s Young People's Service created the impressive display, which includes a life-size wedding dress, groom’s suit, baby-grow and hoody.
The exhibition has been staged by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust’s sexual health (GUM) clinic, in association with the Staffordshire Buddies, to mark National HIV Testing Week (November 23-30) and World AIDS Day (December 1).
Staffordshire Buddies is the local charity that offers support to anyone living with or affected by HIV.
Toni Montinaro, Staffordshire Buddies chief executive, said: “It is really great to be involved with the hospital and actively addressing the myths around HIV and encouraging more people to be aware of their own health.”
GUM manager, Theresa Hudson, said: “It has been 30 years since the first known deaths from AIDS in the UK and public awareness seems to be dropping.
“It is a virus that covers the cross section of society, men and women, young and old - anyone can become infected. Many people in the past have developed it from blood transfusions while others were infected from having unprotected sex.
“There is a certain stigma attached to testing for HIV and AIDS but there shouldn’t be. We offer a walk-in testing service here at Stafford and Cannock Hospitals. Patients do not need a referral and we can have their results back within four hours.
“We are also able to offer face-to-face support, advice and information to the general public about the illness.
“Statistics show that up to 100,000 people in the UK are living with HIV, with 1 in 4 of people with HIV living undiagnosed. Our message is clear – the best way to avoid being infected with HIV and AIDS is to have safe sex,” she added.