On the evening of July 7th 2016 numerous angry protesters gathered outside the dept of health to express their outrage at the lack of access to PrEP in the UK. 17 people a day are diagnosed with HIV in the UK and this will continue to happen until free access to PrEP is available. ACT UP LONDON led the rally and placed 17 people prominently above the crowd each holding messages as to why they would have been 1 of the 17 diagnosed with HIV that day. These included all the contributing factors to what seems like a never ending debate – the shameful passing of the funding ‘buck’ between NHSE England and local authorities, the unnecessary and unrepresentative proposed pilot scheme, inability to afford PrEP online or privately and more.
The rally was broadcast live on the London Live channel as well as Gay Star News online. The United4PrEP coalition is a group of the UKs major HIV charities, advocacy groups, clinicians and activists. The coalition has been campaigning for months to push the NHS to fund PrEP. Alongside this the National AIDS Trust is in the process of a judicial review against NHS England on the grounds of their refusal to access being unethical and discriminatory. This rally demonstrated anger from the United4PrEP coalition as well as the public about the rising HIV transmissions and the governments total inaction to help improve this. There were speeches from Terrence Higgins Trust, the National AIDS Trust, African Eye Trust, Out and Proud African group, ACT UP and Alex Craddock from www.iwantprepnow.com
The court date is next week on the 13th July.We submitted a letter of demands to the Department of Health and are awaiting a response by July 14th. All information at http://www.actuplondon.wordpress.com – please email email@example.com to get stuck in.
Testimonials in Support of ‘STAND UP FOR PREP!’
“I Stand Up For a national PrEP programme because this and only this will have an impact on the health of our nation.” Dr Mags Portman – HIV consultant at Central and North West London NHS Trust
“We have delayed implementing PrEP in the UK for too long and to continue to deny access to those who most need it will result in unnecessary HIV infections and avoidable costs to the NHS of life-time HIV treatment and care.” Dr Michael Brady – HIV Consultant Kings College Hospital
“Black gay people in the UK also need PrEP to prevent HIV infections” Elijah Amooti from African Eye Trust and chair of the European African Treatment Advocates Network (EATAN)
“Today we see that same passion and commitment among the LGBT and HIV communities, demanding that we have the necessary tools to finally bring about an end to new HIV infections. GMFA and other organisations are united with doctors, nurses, experts in HIV research and public health in calling for PrEP to be made available to those who need it most. “We fought then and we continue the fight now.” Matthew Hodson – CEO of GMFA (Gay Men Fight AIDS)
“Women continue to be substantially affected by HIV in the UK. We need to ensure that we have high quality prevention approaches which increase women’s choices and agency. Historically we know very well that enforcing condoms can be very hard for us, that is why we need PrEP for women too.” Silvia Petretti, the CEO of Positively UK stresses the importance of PrEP for women
“I was originally given PrEP and all support services for free when I lived in New York, yet now being back home in London, I am being forced to buy my PrEP online from websites based in South Asia at a cost of £45 a month, which I’m struggling to afford. The NHS is still refusing to fulfil its duty of providing me and thousands of others with medical care and HIV services. In response to this, we created http://www.IWantPrEPNow.co.uk, the only place in the UK which tells people where they can buy PrEP safely and affordably online, so anyone who wants it can stop themselves being at high-risk of HIV without having to wait for an end to NHS bureaucracy and budget cuts.” Alex Craddock from IWantPrEPNow.co.uk and a PrEP user.
‘WHAT DO WE WANT? . PREP. WHEN DO WE WANT IT? . NOW!’
‘WHAT DO WE WANT? . HEALTHCARE FOR ALL!. WHEN DO WE WANT IT?. NOW!”
All information at http://www.actuplondon.wordpress.com – please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get stuck in.
Photos – Mike Kear, Peter Marshall / Videos – Out and Proud Diamond Group, Paolo Zeriali