Conservative MP Simon Kirby has urged David Cameron to support efforts to increase HIV testing at today’s PMQs, with the MP saying that he’d undertaken an HIV test in Brighton as part of National HIV Testing Week.
Speaking at Wednesday’s PMQs, Mr Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said: “Mr Speaker earlier this week in Brighton I was tested for HIV. This Sunday is World AIDS Day. Would the prime minister agree that in view of the fact that in this country one in five people with HIV don’t know they have it, that regular testing is to be encouraged?”
David Cameron replied: “Well I absolutely pay tribute to my Honourable Friend and all Honourable Friends around this House and in politics who campaign so persistently and consistently on this issue.
“It’s vitally important that we improve the livelihoods of people with HIV and AIDS here in the UK, but it is also vital we go on working internationally including through our (international) aid budget to tackle HIV and AIDS around the world. And I think we can be proud of the money we have put into things like the Global (United Nations) Fund and the fact that in this country we have achieved the 0.7% of gross national income [target] when many other countries have broken their promises.
It was noted in the Commons on Wednesday that most of Labour’s Shadow Cabinet, including Labour leader Ed Miliband were wearing red AIDS awareness ribbons in order to signify this weekend’s World AIDS Day.
Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Chancellor George Osborne were not and neither were most of the other Cabinet ministers present on the frontbench.
A number of MPs from all parties, including Tory Vice Chair Michael Fabricant and Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Gilbert, were wearing ribbons at PMQs.
3,250 gay and bisexual men were diagnosed with HIV in 2012, the highest annual figure since the start of the epidemic.