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Prime Minister and other party leaders take stand against HIV stigma with World AIDS Day speeches

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Video messages from the leaders of the Conservative Party, Labour, SNP and Liberal Democrats have been released online by NAT (National AIDS Trust) to mark World AIDS Day (1 December 2016). Each of the speeches addresses the widespread problem of HIV stigma in the UK.

In her speech, the Prime Minister highlighted the role of the NHS saying: "I'm proud of the role that the UK has played in driving advances in the treatment and prevention of HIV including, of course, through the brilliant care and support of our NHS which makes such a difference in the lives of people living with HIV." She also supported the NAT World AIDS Day campaign, stating in her speech that HIV stigma is nor retro, just wrong.  

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party said: “While medical advances continue, social attitudes remain stuck in the past. HIV stigma is a daily reality and is experienced in situations where people should feel supported and valued: at work, in education and when accessing services. Stigma also threatens the success of our response to HIV in Britain by creating a barrier to access for prevention, testing and course treatment services.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "It's vital to challenge the stigma that surrounds HIV. This stigma is based on myth, ignorance and misconceptions." Like the Prime Minister, Sturgeon also echoed the ‘not retro, just wrong’ NAT campaign message in her speech.

Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats said: "The stigma surrounding HIV is something we must absolutely challenge and stand up to make sure that people living with HIV have access to the same opportunities as everybody else." 

Deborah Gold, chief executive of NAT said: “We’re delighted to see such strong cross-party support for World AIDS Day and willingness to show leadership on HIV stigma.

“People living with HIV in the UK who are enjoying excellent physical health are still facing serious adversity because of social attitudes - this is an unacceptable situation. It’s gratifying to hear that major party leaders are in agreement with us on this.  As we enter the new year we look forward to working with all parties to make that commitment to end stigma a reality in the lives of people living with HIV.”

To arrange interviews with a NAT spokesperson, or for video files of the speeches, please contact Charlie Alderwick: charlie.alderwick@nat.org.uk or on 020 7814 6727 or 07947 725299

Notes to editors:

  1. World AIDS Day was the first international health day and is held on the 1st December each year. It gives a chance for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. Over 100,000 people are living with HIV in the UK. Globally there are an estimated 34 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
  2. NAT coordinate the UK’s campaign for World AIDS Day and this year the theme is ‘HIV stigma: not retro, just wrong.’ We are inviting people to raise funds and awareness by celebrating and poking fun at all things ‘retro.’ Some things from the 80s and 90s deserve to be revisited, but HIV stigma is something we should leave behind for good. For more information, visit www.worldaidsday.org

About NAT

NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expertise and practical resources. We champion the rights of people living with HIV and campaign for change.

Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.

www.nat.org.uk  

www.worldaidsday.org