Conservative Party leader David Cameron today promised to ring-fence spending money for tackling HIV and organise a new campaign to change attitudes to the disease.
In a message for World AIDS Day, which is tomorrow, Cameron cited the ‘tombstone’ advertisements of the 1980s, saying: “Some people said the adverts were scary – but they helped us to stop the spread of HIV.”
On spending abroad, he said: “I will never forget going to an AIDS clinic in Africa and watching drugs being given out which really would save people’s lives. I’m proud that my party will support and expand this treatment by working with charities, international organisations, private companies and individual countries and by ensuring that every pound of British aid spent on HIV and AIDS in poor countries is used effectively.”
Cameron suggested that pharmacy testing, used in America, could be expanded in this country to make access to STD and HIV testing easier.
But he added that it was equally important to change attitudes and remove stigma from the disease.
He said: “We need to stop the spread of the virus – and that means raising people’s awareness of HIV. When HIV became a big issue in the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher’s government organised a massive public awareness campaign.
“Millions of people watched the tombstone adverts and read the leaflets warning them not to ‘die of ignorance’. Some people said the adverts were scary – but they helped us to stop the spread of HIV.
“Today, we again need a big push to change people’s attitudes. We need to get rid of the myths and the stigmas and the discrimination which all too often are associated with HIV.”
To read the full message, click here