For Immediate Release – World AIDS Day events launch year of civil disobedience for the HIV+ rights.
A number high profile HIV+ and human rights advocates will launch a year of protest against the cuts to HIV services, absence of PREP provision, and NHS crackdown, which is leading to a resurgence of the HIV epidemic in the UK. World AIDS Day 2016, on Thursday 1 December, will be marked with a demonstration in Trafalgar Square to call for a long overdue AIDS memorial to be built in London.
Ash Kotak from the UK HIV/AIDS Memorial Project said:
“ACT UP London is hosting a series of events and actions across London to mark Worlds AIDS Day 2016, remembering those who have been lost, whilst also speaking out that the crisis is far from over. Twenty-six major cities across the globe have AIDS memorials, including Moscow, Paris and Dublin, to name but a few. It’s unacceptable that the many lives lost to AIDS are not commemorated via a memorial in London – a city which has played a key role in the treatment activist movement and is situated in the UK which continues to have the second highest HIV rate in Western Europe. The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day, is “It is not over yet” and 2016 also marks the 50-year anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, so it is a just time to establish a National HIV/AIDS memorial in London.” (https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/national-hiv-aids-memorial).
‘ACT UP LONDON have teamed up with the UK publisher’s of David France’s How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed AIDS, out on 1st December, and will screen France’s award-winning documentary of the same name – ‘How to Survive a Plague’, at two venues in London on the 29th and 1st December 2016. The legendary AIDS activist and ACT UP New York member, Peter Staley, a key figure in France’s film and book, will be in London and will open the World AIDS Day screening here.
There will also be the opportunity for the audience to engage in a post film Q&A discussion with a number of high profile HIV+ advocates. The discussion will focus on the rising xenophobic attitudes against migrants in the UK, the risks migrants face contracting HIV here in the UK, and actions which ordinary people can take to end racism, and challenge the societal structures which disempower migrants.
Ollie Lloyd-Houldey, a member of ACT UP London said:
“At a time of rising infection rates in the UK and the scrapping of vital prevention and support services, these evenings will provide audience members with a unique insight into the historic courageous actions taken by those with HIV to gain access to effective treatment. Those attending will also gain the opportunity to discuss the factors which in the present day, place isolated, marginalised groups at increased risk to HIV transmission in the UK’. These events therefore speak of both the incredible progress realised in treating HIV, as well as the significant challenges that lie ahead in ending the epidemic here in the UK.”
Edwin Sesange, Director of Out and Proud Diamond Group said:
“Should the UK public and affected groups really have to campaign to have an AIDS memorial built in London? The UK is supposedly seen as a leader in HIV prevention, treatment and support around the world – yet, what HIV+ Black African, LGBTQI+ and other key marginalised and vulnerable groups face, is increasing stigmatisation, an increasingly xenophobic narrative from the tabloid press, in action from the UK government and no access to PREP. Its high time the UK stopped playing catch-up on HIV stigmatisation and prevention to the rest of the Europe.”
Karen Doyle, organiser with Movement for Justice by Any Means Necessary said:
“Over 30,000 people are detained in UK immigration detention centres every year, people who are not detained because of any crime, but for ‘administrative purposes’. People like Prossy N, a lesbian from Uganda who was detained before being brutally deported to Uganda where she now lives in hiding with failing health. But time and time again we have seen detainees and ex detainees rise up and defend each other from deportation, expose the truth about sexual abuse and brutality and demand justice. Right Now Prossy is fighting to return to the UK, on 3rd december thousands will surround Yarl’s Wood where the women inside will join us in a joint demonstration to get it and ALL detention centres shut down. The rise in racist and xenophobic attacks post brexit and the scapegoating of immigrants must be resisted on all fronts, that is the only way we can win against cuts and attacks on healthcare, housing and welfare because its that scapegoating which is the central divide and rule tactic of those in power.”
Contacts for events:
Phone: Dan Glass – 07717811747
Ollie Lloyd-Houldey – 07907772187
Notes to editors:
The book and documentary, tell the powerful and profoundly moving story of the AIDS epidemic and the grass-roots movement of activists, many of them facing their own life-or-death struggles, who grabbed the reins of scientific research to help develop the drugs that turned HIV from a mostly fatal infection to a manageable disease.
The Glory – Tuesday 29th November 8pm – 8as, 281 Kingsland Rd, London E2 8AS.
‘How to Survive A Plague’ film screening followed by ‘creative direct action’ Q&A with leading HIV+ advocates, ‘HIV Speed-dating’ and a surprise!
Suggested donations – £5 / Tickets available on the door.
Trafalgar Square remembrance and call for AIDS memorial – Thursday, 1st December, from noon (12.00 pm) – Trafalgar Square, London
World AIDS Day Vigil for all HIV+ deaths and call for AIDS memorial to be built in London.
Cinema Museum – Thursday 1st December, from 6.30pm (film starts at 7pm) – 2 Dugard Way, London SE11 4TH
‘How to Survive A Plague’ screening with an opening by the film’s protagonist Peter Staley from ACT UP New York, followed by Q&A with leading HIV+ advocates on ‘ending racism, HIV risk faced by migrants in UK, challenging societal structures which disempower migrants’. Tickets available on eventbrite here
All money raised from donations/ticket sales goes to actions to support HIV+ and LGBTQI+ migrants and to shut down illegal detention centres.
HIV advocates, anti-racists groups and health organisations participating in stated events on Q&A panels:
Tabitha Ha – STOP AIDS
Apata Aderonke – African Rainbow Family
Edwin Sesange – Out and Proud Diamond Group
Silvia Petrerri – Positively UK
Dr. Priyanka Goel – RISE Partnership Manager at NAZ
Mare Tralla – ACT UP London
Dani Singer – LGBT+ Against Islamophobia
About ACT UP London:
ACT UP London is a diverse, non-partisan group of individuals united in anger and committed to direct action to end the HIV pandemic, along with the broader inequalities and injustices that perpetuate it. Remembering that HIV & AIDS is foremost a political crisis, as well as a medical emergency, we will use every means possible to call out and contain this pandemic. We are STILL not silent!