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World AIDS Day 🎗️
Every year on 1 December since 1988, World AIDS Day has reminded us all that the fight against HIV isn’t over.
In the UK, over 100,000 people are living with HIV. Globally, the figure is estimated to be around 38 million. It matters to our community more than most, given the stigma the epidemic caused LGBTQIA+ folk in the 80s after the virus was grotesquely named the 'gay plague' in numerous papers, and living rooms.
Today, people in the UK are expected to live a normal life span, and with the help of medication, can live full lives. Indeed, render the virus untransmittable in their bodies. But this isn’t true everywhere in the world, and even in the UK, HIV stigma can still shame people into avoiding getting tested and treating the virus.
This year, numerous LGBTQ+ groups have urged the Conservative government to deliver real change and work harder to end HIV transmission in the UK by 2030. They are due to publish their new HIV Action Plan next week.
Things are already looking optimistic. The government has pledged over £23 million to end HIV infections and the armed forces have removed barriers to serving in the military for those living with HIV.
Prince Harry wrote a letter in honour of his mother Princess Diana to UNAIDS leaders Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Ms Winnie Byanyima, praising the HIV activists pushing for equity in the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine. He called for work to be done in “breaking pharma monopolies that prevent vaccines from getting to communities around the world in need”.
"Let’s spend today celebrating and building on the work of champions who turned what was once a death sentence into a manageable condition. Let’s spend tomorrow continuing our efforts to save lives and make a difference."
- Prince Harry for UNAIDS
Joe Biden’s government pledged to rededicate itself “to building on the progress of the last four decades” and finally conquer the “serious public health crisis”.
As with many health crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic, inequalities pervade the diagnosis and treatment of HIV, with Hispanic men in particular having higher rates of infection.
In the wake of the new pandemic, activists and influencers including Matt Bernstein have called for the world to “never forget the way queer people were treated during the AIDS crisis”.
Pandemics thrive on inequalities. Ending health inequalities is a vital step to ending both the HIV and Covid-19 pandemics for good.
TLDR: We need to end HIV transmissions, and to achieve that we must tackle health inequalities.
- Step up, be bold, end AIDS, end inequalities and end pandemics - World Health Organisation (WHO)
- Even after 40 years, the response to HIV in many countries is still held back by stigma - Hakima Himmich and Mike Podmore in The Guardian
- Pope Francis Sent Me a Letter. It Gives Me Hope as a Gay Catholic - Michael O'Loughlin in The New York Times
Hi! I'm Matilda - as you may have noticed, your newsletter is coming to you from a different voice today. Jamie has taken the week off for some annual leave, so I'm here to bring you your weekly dose of LGBTQIA+ news. I was the first creative QueerAF commisioned since we was recently set up as a CIC.
Queer creatives should always get paid for their work. If you're reading and are not yet a paid member, will you consider becoming a founding member like Rae Langford (Head of Corporate Comms, Banijay) did this week?
You could also invite someone you know to help fund my work, and support even more incredible creatives, like me, with this link:
We're not sharing our work on social media yet, but we'd love it if you send our work to a friend and invite them to join us, behind the scenes ahead of a pub;ic launch next year.
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