Video messages from Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Nicola Sturgeon and Vince Cable, have been released to mark World AIDS Day.
The messages, which can be viewed on http://www.worldaidsday.org/
The Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, was optimistic about an AIDS-free future, saying: “Men and women who a generation ago would have been lost are today leading happy and productive lives, making an enormous contribution to our world…And if we can succeed in making testing and treatment available to all, a final end to HIV transmission, and the reality of an AIDS-free generation is within our grasp.
“As we continue our work towards that goal, we must also bring an end to the stigma which still blights the daily lives of many people with HIV.”
Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn MP, warned that cuts could jeopardise recent progress on lowering HIV transmission, saying: “Since the last World AIDS Day there’s been a reported fall in the number of people being diagnosed with HIV for the first time since the 1980s. Frequent testing and the HIV prevention drug PrEP are major contributing factors.
“But in some parts of our country, cuts of more than 20% have already lead to GUM service closures and £531million more will be cut from the public health budgets in this parliament. These cuts will impact on HIV transmission rates right at the moment our efforts are beginning to pay off.”
Leader of the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, encouraged people to fight stigma and misinformation as a tribute to those lost to AIDS, saying: “A sense of stigma still stops many people from getting tested, and that means they will miss out on early diagnoses and don’t receive the treatment that they need. So, it’s really important that we address that stigma by tackling the remaining myths and prejudices that underpin it and by learning and sharing the facts about HIV.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable MP, thanked those involved in fighting HIV, and echoed the 2017 World AIDS Day theme Let’s End It, saying: “Let’s use this day to pay tribute to those who lost their lives to HIV and AIDS and I’d also like to thank the researchers, campaigners, and advocates who’ve dedicated their lives to this battle in the hope that future generations do not have to know the pain and suffering caused by HIV and AIDS. It’s clear we have an immediate and urgent task to do if we are to eradicate this disease. So, let’s all work together to end the transmission, the fear, and the stigma of AIDS for once and all. Let’s end it.”
Chief executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), Deborah Gold, said: “Political leadership on HIV is absolutely essential. We are at a turning point with HIV, with diagnoses reducing for the first time ever in some groups. But at the same time critical services for people living with HIV are struggling under financial pressure. We cannot rest on our laurels and we’re pleased that political leaders have marked World AIDS Day by saying just that – we must hold them to their word.”