London Mayoral candidate pledges to create AIDS memorial
The Green candidate for Mayor of London has pledged to create an London AIDS Memorial.
Though there are several memorials to victims of the AIDS crisis around the UK and the world, London does not currently have a permanent physical memorial.
Sian Berry, who is running for Mayor of London in 2016, said she would create a memorial honouring those who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS in the UK.
In a statement released to PinkNews, she said: “I’m amazed that London, which bore the brunt of the early AIDS epidemic, still doesn’t have a memorial to the thousands who died”
Speaking ahead of World AIDS Day and a visit to to pioneering NHS clinic 56 Dean Street, she said: “It’s now twenty years since life-saving treatments began to transform HIV from a no-hope condition into something much more manageable.
“It’s wonderful that people newly diagnosed with HIV today can expect a normal life expectancy, provided the virus is detected early and they receive treatment.
“That’s why places like 56 Dean Street do such vital work in reaching out to the communities most affected by HIV infection.”
“But I’m amazed to hear that London, which bore the brunt of the Aids epidemic in those terrible early days, still doesn’t have a memorial to those thousands who died here. Brighton and Manchester have AIDSmemorials, as do countless cities around the world, so why not London?
She added: “As new infections remain high, especially among young gay and bisexual men in London, a lasting memorial – either a physical monument, something more interactive, or a living space – would be a valuable tool for health educators as well as fitting way of remembering those who died.”
Data released by Public Health England released this week showed that HIV transmissions among gay and bisexual men in the UK have reached a new record high.
The report also estimated that 6,500 gay and bisexual men are unaware they are living with HIV, risking further transmissions if they are not diagnosed and treated.