HIV ACTIVIST'S NETWORK
JOIN OUR VIRTUAL GROUP TO DEMAND EQUALITY AND DRIVE PROGRESS IN HIV ON THE TOPICS THAT MATTER TO YOU
Join our virtual group to demand equality and drive progress
in HIV on the topics that matter to you
We need your voice to make us speak louder. The HIV Activists Network allows you to add your voice to our movement—enabling us all to fight harder for the rights of people affected by HIV and drive improvements in HIV education, prevention and testing.
What does being a member involve?
Being a member involves taking quick, simple e-campaign actions to challenge injustice. NAT identifies current issues, contacts you with background information and resources, tells you what you can do, and you take action on as much or as little as you like.
We select the current issues by doing our own research, listening to people living with HIV and talking to our partner organisations. This ensures that we are tackling the issues that matter the most.
Can I join?
Yes! Anyone living in the UK with the desire to bring about change can join. We’ll give you all the information and support you need to take action.
To join the network, please use our contact form. We'll add you to our network, and start getting in touch when we launch new actions.
The HIV Activists Network is run as a virtual network and your details will not be passed on.
Join us in challenging local candidates to pledge their support for people living with and affected by HIV. The general election is a crucial opportunity to raise the profile of HIV; please add your voice to our campaign.
We have come a long way since the 1980s. While stigma and discrimination remain, HIV is now a long term condition and individuals are living with HIV into old age. HIV affects individuals of all ages with 95% of people living with HIV of working age. HIV treatment in the UK is excellent, but not everyone living with HIV is doing well. The number of people diagnosed with HIV each year remains high and far too many people are diagnosed late. Services which help people living with HIV manage their condition are facing continued funding cuts.
We have come so far. We cannot stop now.
We are calling on the next Government to:
- Commit to tackling the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV.
- Fully fund HIV and sexual health services to meet the needs of local communities*.
- Recognise the importance of prevention to a sustainable health and social care system by increasing investment in public health services*.
- Equip schools with the resources they need to ensure that high-quality, age-appropriate, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT)-inclusive sex and relationships education is taught to all young people in all schools*.
- Make PrEP available to all individuals at risk of HIV in the UK*.
- Develop a fair benefits system that meets the needs of people living with HIV whether in or out of work.
- Ensure that the health and social care system is equipped to meet the needs of a population ageing with HIV*.
*The general election is electing MPs to the House of Commons, from across the UK. The House of Commons legislates for health and social care, and education, in England only. The devolved Governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland legislate in these areas.
Take action now
It’s time to pile on the pressure; will your local candidates stand with people affected by HIV?
There are some easy ways you can help put HIV on the agenda in this election.
- Click here to write to your local candidates, asking them to support our manifesto
- You can Tweet the manifesto to spread the word about our demands – use the hashtag #HIVmanifesto. You can also take a photo of yourself holding our HIV pledge. Download here.
- Take it offline: meet with your candidates face-to-face to discuss the points in the manifesto. Go to any local hustings events to do the same, ask questions to see how committed they are to the HIV manifesto. Take a look at this toolkit with details and tips on what questions to ask.
I've challenged my local MP candidates to support people living with HIV. Join me by sharing the #HIVmanifesto
HIV is misunderstood and under-funded. Put it back on the agenda this election with the #HIVmanifesto
I pledge to stand with people affected by HIV this general election – do you? #HIVManifesto
I’m calling on the next government to stand with people affected by HIV. #HIVManifesto
STOP USING NHS PATIENTS’ PERSONAL INFORMATION TO CARRY OUT IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT
Sign the petition to demand that NHS Digital no longer provides information to the Home Office for the purposes of immigration enforcement, so that our healthcare service is safe for everyone living in UK.
The UK government and NHS Digital, the NHS body that stores patient information, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in January to give the Home Office easier access to patient information. This allows immigration officials to use NHS patients’ personal details, such as their addresses, to track down, arrest and deport undocumented migrants.
According to the Department of Health, the Home Office made 8,127 requests for data in the first 11 months of 2016 alone.
Patient confidentiality is essential for NHS staff to be able to do their job – and yet they have not been consulted about this deal. Concerns raised have been ignored and the agreement was made in secret.
NAT is very worried about the impact of this practice on vulnerable migrants who need to access HIV services. We are working jointly with Doctors of the World and Liberty on the petition.
Sign the petition.
Support the #StopSharing campaign on social media – follow the hashtag for updates and what you can do.
Please note, this action applies only in England.
STOP HIV CUTS
Tell council leaders that cuts to HIV services would be devastating
We want council leaders to know that HIV support services are of vital importance in their area and must not be de-funded.
Local authorities are responsible for funding many HIV support services, but they are under increasing financial pressure and have faced an unprecedented in-year cut to their public health budget. As a result of this strain we are seeing many essential HIV support services across the country facing catastrophic cuts to their funding.
To support the #stopHIVcuts campaign by writing to your council leader, click here.
Visit the #StopHIVCuts website to find out more.
Please note, this action applies only in England.
REVERSE THE NHS U-TURN ON PrEP
Write to your MP about NHS England u-turn on PrEP
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) involves a person who doesn’t have HIV taking a pill containing anti-HIV drugs to prevent HIV infection. Studies have shown that PrEP is highly effective in both gay men and heterosexual men and women and so it is vital that it is made available.
NHS England’s refusal to consider PrEP
Earlier this year, NHS England said that there would be no consultation and no decision to fund PrEP. This is despite over 950 people, in just a few days, writing to the CEO of NHS England asking when they will have their chance to have their say in the PrEP public consultation.
On 13 July, NAT challenged in the High Court the legality of the NHS England decision to remove PrEP from its commissioning process. On 2 August the Judge ruled that the NHS does have the power to commission prevention and therefore that the NHS did not act lawfully in removing PrEP from the commissioning process in March.
NHS England is now consulting on the policy for PrEP. This will go to the committee that makes the final decision (CPAG).
We urge both individuals and organisations to respond to show their support for PrEP.
#WEEXIST – FIGHT FOR LGBT SEX EDUCATION
Write to your MP about #WeExist, the campaign for LGBT inclusive sex education
It is not compulsory for all schools in the UK to teach Personal Social Health and Economic (PSHE) Education and Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), and the increasing numbers of academies and free schools in England are under no obligation to teach these subjects.
Young LGBT people are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience poor sexual and mental health, yet even where Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) is taught, there is no requirement to teach sex education relevant to gay students, or to talk about same sex relationships. This does great harm to young LGBT students who can feel alone, ignored and unprepared for their developing social and sexual life. We want the Government to make PSHE and SRE compulsory in all schools and to ensure that the subject content is inclusive of LGBT young people.
Write to your MP and ask them to support the #WeExist campaign and stand up for the rights of LGBT young people. You can find your MP here.
Are you a teacher? Make sure you also sign the teachers’ petition.
JOIN PRESS GANG
Improve the quality of HIV coverage to educate the public and tackle prejudice
Press Gang is a virtual group of people living with HIV who challenge inaccurate and stigmatising stories about HIV in the UK media and encourage more responsible reporting among journalists.
If you are a journalist and want advise on accurate media reporting, please contact our press office.
Why is inaccurate media reporting problematic?
The media is incredibly powerful in influencing public attitudes and understanding, and poor reporting can reinforce myths
Media stories about HIV are often inaccurate and stigmatising of people affected by HIV. Many articles contribute to
a culture of blame about HIV transmission, stereotyping people living with HIV and often using judgemental language.
In fact recent research shows that almost half of all media coverage on people living with HIV is negative compared
to just 5% for cervical and testicular cancer.
Inaccurate coverage can also perpetuate myths about how HIV is passed on; fuelling the unnecessary fear around HIV which
is often the root of the stigma and discrimination experienced by people with HIV. Even when an article is fair and balanced,
responding online comments from members of the public are often still inaccurate, stigmatising and stimulate negative debate.
INACCURATE MEDIA REPORTING CONFUSES THE PUBLIC, PROPAGATES MYTHS AND HAS A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON THE LIVES OF PEOPLE WITH HIV.
By improving media coverage of HIV and engaging in online debates to clarify the facts, we are working towards a better public understanding of HIV.
How does press gang tackle misinformation?
NAT monitors media coverage on HIV every day and sends Press Gang members email ‘Stigma Alerts’. Stigma Alerts highlight articles and provide background information on why they are inaccurate and/or stigmatising. Press Gang members are then encouraged to comment on the article or write to the editor. NAT supports members with their responses and records the activity of the group.
We also alert Press Gang members with ‘Hot Topic’ emails, which might be about an HIV story we are expecting to appear in the press or an article we have picked up which we think will stimulate interest and debate. This is so members can comment on the discussion boards for these articles and help shape the debate that follows.
Can I join?
Anyone living with HIV can join. Don’t leave it up to others to set the record straight on out of date, inaccurate, or stigmatising information—join Press Gang and make your voice heard. To find out more contact NAT: email firstname.lastname@example.org,
call 020 7814 6767, or fill in our contact form.
Press Gang is run as a virtual network and your details will not be passed on to anyone else. If you are living with HIV, it is not vital to disclose your status to get involved, but nothing is more powerful than hearing directly from people living with HIV themselves, so we would encourage you to feel empowered to do so.
ASK YOUR MP TO SHOW LEADERSHIP ON HIV STIGMA
World AIDS Day is the perfect opportunity to make sure your MP is thinking about HIV and supporting their constituents who are living with and affected by HIV. That’s why this November our HIV Activists network will be writing to their MPs to ask they show leadership on HIV stigma in Parliament in their community in the lead-up to 1 December. One way they can do this is by wearing a red ribbon at Prime Minister’s Questions and in their local area. We also want to encourage MPs to visit local HIV support services to understand the issues affecting their constituents.
Help us fill Parliament with red ribbons this World AIDS Day! Write to your MP, using our easy letter template – and then share with your friends!