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Italian authorities spread "dangerous nonsense" on HIV to justify ordering seizure of migrant rescue ship

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Italian authorities have issued an order for the seizure of the rescue ship Aquarius, saying discarded clothes could be "contaminated" with HIV and other infectious diseases. 

Deborah Gold, chief executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust) said: “Clothing categorically is not, and has never been, an HIV transmission risk. This would have stood out as ridiculous even amongst the misinformation of the 1980s, never mind in 2018. Migrants and people seeking asylum have historically been attacked using myths about HIV and infectious conditions, and we condemn this both for its stigmatising of people living with HIV and of migrants fleeing hardship. It’s a bitter irony that we are still seeing this as we approach the 30th World AIDS Day. This is shocking to hear and we would urge the authorities involved to withdraw these orders, allow MSF to continue its lifesaving work, and issue an apology for spreading this dangerous nonsense, which damages ongoing international efforts to raise awareness.”

For more details or further comment, contact senior press officer Charlie Alderwick: charlie.alderwick@nat.org.uk 020 7814 6727

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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