World AIDS Day 2015

STOPAIDS marked this year’s World AIDS Day with a flurry of activity in and around parliament whilst Youth STOP AIDS took on the rest of the country.

We started the day at 7:45 am outside 1 Parliament street where we met volunteers from Terence Higgins Trust to begin our mass red-ribbon hand out to MPs arriving to work.  Covering all entrances we managed to hand out over 1000 ribbons!

At 9:30 am we headed inside parliament for our MP drop-in photo shoot. Around 30 MPs attended to have their photos taken with our plaques illustrating the importance of reaching the most marginalised, the impact of HIV on women and adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa and the investment needed to end AIDS by 2030.

Baroness BarkerAndy SlaughterCatherine McKinnellAndrew Bridgen

Next we had our panel discussion ‘Putting the last first – Reach the most marginalised to end AIDS’. We were really fortunate to have 3 amazing young speakers: Cristian Sandulescu, a London-based young bisexual man living with HIV and an HIV activist; Alexa Domonich, a young transgender woman living with HIV from Indonesia and a member of the Fokus Muda Network, as well as the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM for the Global Fund); and Chan Aye San, a young woman living with HIV from Myanmar and a member of Myanmar Youth Stars. After the speakers shared their stories Baroness Verma responded with an important message “It’s great to hear about the end of AIDS, but the job is far from over’ and commented that although the decline in AIDS related deaths is something to celebrate, 1.2 million per year is still outrageously high.

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Diane Abbott also responded sharing some stories and quotes from some of the young and LGBT activists she met on her recent visit to Uganda, which was organised by STOPAIDS and the International HIV and AIDS Alliance. You can read about her trip in her Huffington Post and Pink News blogs. It was great to GAY UK at the discussion who did a blog on the event that you can read here.  Lord Crisp and Mike Freer MP did a great job of chairing the panel and we were really pleased to have 10 MPs and peers attend the event including Lord Collins and Lord Cashman. Both Lords are very supportive of our work, tabling questions on the need to prioritise HIV within DfID’s women and girls strategy and the importance of maintaining support for key populations in middle income countries during the World AIDS Day questions in the House of Lords. Lord Collins and Lord Cashman also wrote a blog on the Labour Lords website about the price of inaction in the global response to HIV.

After the panel we headed down to Abingdon Green to take a group photo to mark the launch of the Missing Medicines campaign. The aim of the campaign is to find a global solution to the market failure of our system for developing medicines so that it produces the treatments the world needs as prices people can afford. You can read more about our campaign here.

Youth STOP AIDS were also doing things across the country. Sussex Youth STOP AIDS played a game of ‘Find the giant missing pill’ in Brighton and got in the paper!

Wheres-Wally sussex YSA WAD 2015

We had two debates planned for the 2nd of December on the UK’s international HIV response and access to medicines but both were postponed due to the important discussions regarding air strikes in Syria. As a consolation, the SNP sent us a group photo of them wearing their red ribbons to show their support for WAD 2015.

SNP picture support for WAD

Our members were also active on World AIDS day.

Sentebale founder, Prince Harry released a video of a poem by George the Poet around children and adolescents coming to terms with living with HIV

AVERT launched an animation to help people overcome fears and worries about HIV – something which is stopping millions of people from getting tested for the virus.

WaterAid published a World AIDS day blog, ‘Why water, sanitation and hygiene belong in the approach to HIV