Gareth Thomas backs Terrence Higgins Trust’s ‘Zero HIV’ campaign for World AIDS Day
Gareth Thomas has spoken out ahead of World AIDS Day by calling for ‘Zero HIV’ – an end to HIV transmissions and the elimination of HIV-related stigma.
Gareth Thomas joined Terrence Higgins Trust’s reception in the Speaker’s House in Westminster, a few days ahead of the 30th ever World AIDS Day on 1 December. The reception brought together politicians, campaigners, medics and people affected by HIV.
The event featured remarks by Minister for Public Health, Steve Brine MP and Terrence Higgins Trust Patron, Lord Michael Cashman. Over three decades after the HIV epidemic began in the UK, HIV was back at the top of the agenda in Parliament ahead of World AIDS Day. Decision-makers also heard from Bakita Kasadha, a young HIV activist.
Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum including Gareth Thomas wore their red ribbons with pride, while reflecting on how far we’ve come, but how far we still have to go to end HIV transmissions in the UK as we strive towards ‘Zero HIV’.
Mr Thomas said: ‘Thirty on from the very first World AIDS Day, it continues to be an incredibly important as a day of action, awareness and remembrance, so I’m pleased to offer my support to Terrence Higgins Trust’s ‘Zero HIV’ campaign.
‘This year we have seen a further decline in new HIV diagnoses across the country, and new medical advances mean that people living with HIV can now expect to have a normal life expectancy. However, we must not become complacent as HIV stigma continues to be one of the biggest barriers to people being tested for HIV and coming forward for support. No one must be left behind in the UK’s HIV response as we work towards ending all new transmissions and eradicating stigma.’
Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: ‘This World AIDS Day we’re calling for ‘Zero HIV’, which means zero new HIV transmissions and zero HIV-related stigma. Because we can’t do one without the other.
‘Our event in Parliament was an opportunity to talk to policy makers about all of the challenges ahead, as well as the importance of sustained government investment in HIV prevention and support services. It’s important that complacency doesn’t jeopardise all the progress that’s been made and that we redouble our efforts to achieve our ambitious aim.’
Find out more about Terrence Higgins Trust’s current campaigns at http://www.tht.org.uk/campaigns
About Terrence Higgins Trust
Terrence Higgins Trust is the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity, offering support, information and advice services for those living with HIV and affected by HIV or poor sexual health.
Our vision is a world where people with HIV live healthy lives free from prejudice and discrimination, and good sexual health is a right and reality for all.
- HIV is a virus which attacks the immune system and weakens the body’s ability to fight diseases.
- It’s estimated over 100,000 people are living with HIV in the UK and over 4,000 people are diagnosed every year. Of these, 12 per cent are undiagnosed and do not know about their HIV infection
- HIV treatment lowers the amount of virus in the blood to undetectable levels which stops it from damaging the immune system, and means the virus cannot be passed on to other people
- There is still a great deal of stigma about HIV. Stigma is damaging as it prevents people from getting tested, from accessing treatment and from living a happy and healthy life
- The most common way HIV is transmitted is through sex without a condom.
- You cannot get HIV through casual or day-to-day contact, or kissing, spitting or sharing a cup, plate or toilet seat