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HIV organisations unite to #FightHIVStigma

Friday, June 30, 2023

Community organisations from across the city are uniting in the fight against HIV stigma for the Pride in London parade on July 1.

London authorities have committed through the Fast-Track Cities initiative to ending HIV stigma in the city. This Pride month, Fast-Track Cities London are highlighting the work of LGBTQ+ and HIV community groups working tirelessly to make this happen.

2021’s joint national survey HIV: Public knowledge and attitudes from Fast-Track Cities London and National AIDS Trust found many examples of outdated and incorrect views which contribute towards stigma faced by people living with HIV:

  • Only 1 in 5 people in London know that people on effective HIV treatment can’t pass it on.
  • 83 per cent agree people with HIV often face negative judgement from others in society. •
  • Most of the public said they would be uncomfortable having a sexual relationship with someone living with HIV.

Coordinated by Fast-Track Cities London, the organisations taking part in the Pride in London parade to #FightHIVStigma alongside National AIDS Trust include: Terrence Higgins Trust, Positively UK, Positive East, Food Chain, Spectra, METRO Charity, NAM aidsmap, CliniQ, Africa Advocacy Foundation, Sophia Forum, NAZ and the People First Charter.

Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of National AIDS Trust said: “Right from the start, community activists have been at the heart of the fight against HIV, particularly the LGBTQ+ community which has been one of the most affected. National AIDS Trust are extremely proud to march alongside our friends and colleagues at the Pride in London parade, as we stand firm in our commitments to supporting the whole LGBTQ+ community and people living with HIV. We continue to strive for equality and to remove barriers in the lives of LGBTQ+ people living with HIV, including the unnecessary discrimination they face accessing fertility care in the UK.”

Professor Jane Anderson CBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees at National AIDS Trust, Consultant Physician in HIV Medicine at Homerton University Hospital and Barts Health NHS Trust and co-chair of London’s Fast-Track Cities HIV initiative said: “Even after 40 years of HIV, we still have a big problem with the public’s knowledge and attitudes. Depressingly, many people still do not know about HIV, are confused by how it’s passed on and are unaware that people taking effective HIV treatment cannot pass on the virus. People do not think enough about their sexual health, which means they are not testing regularly for HIV. Sadly, many people have deeply entrenched stigmatising views about HIV either because they do not know enough about HIV or for reasons that link to sexual orientation, gender or race.”

Professor Kevin Fenton, Regional Public Health Director for London said: “HIV stigma is a major barrier to ending HIV transmission in England. It prevents people from getting tested for HIV, and it can stop people with HIV from getting the care they need. Stigma can also prevent people with HIV from disclosing their status to their family, friends, and employers, which can lead to isolation and loneliness. We all have a role to play in fighting HIV stigma. We can learn about HIV, talk about it openly, and listen to the experiences of people with HIV. By working together, we can end HIV stigma and end HIV transmission.”

The Fast-Track Cities initiative is a partnership of organisations, including the Mayor of London, NHS England, UK Health Security Agency and London Councils committed to working with partners across the city to reach the following goals by 2030:

  • End new HIV infections in the capital
  • Put a stop to HIV-related stigma and discrimination
  • Stop preventable deaths from HIV-related causes
  • Work to improve the health, quality of life and well-being of people living with HIV across the capital

Read the full press release on the Fast-Track Cities website.

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