Campaigners urge London Mayor Sadiq Khan to support national AIDS memorial
Campaigners hope to urge London Mayor Sadiq Khan to support the commissioning of a national memorial to remember those lost.
The call from those in the HIV sector comes ahead of World AIDS Day tomorrow, 1 December.
A petition with nearly 3,000 signatures was started by Ash Kotak, from London.
The campaign, on 38 Degrees, has found suppport from a number of health and community leaders.
Individuals and organisations supporting the creation of the memorial include recently appointed London night tsar, Amy Lamé and campaigner, Peter Tatchell, as well as national organisations such as GMFA (Gay Men Fighting AIDS); the Terrence Higgins Trust; ADD National AIDS Trust; Naz Project; National AIDS Manuel; Positively UK; Positive East; 56 Dean Street; Ian Charleston Centre at the Royal Free Hospital; Bloomsbury Centre at UCL and BHIVA (British HIV Association).
Kotak commented: “Despite London being hit the hardest by the pandemic in the UK, there is currently no memorial to those who died. Many other major cities across the world, including Berlin, Amsterdam, Auckland, Cape Town, Dublin, Kiev and Moscow to name a few, have memorials that recognise those we lost.
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“Many people from all walks of life will remember the heart-ache and pain that the epidemic caused and continues to cause and will know somebody who lost their life to the virus, so it is about time a national AIDS memorial was created in London.”
Ian Howley, Interim CEO for GMFA – the gay men’s health charity, added: “It’s been over 30 years since we saw the first case of AIDS in the UK. Since then thousands of men and women have died from the disease. It’s time that we remember those who we have lost.”
The campaign notes that there is no memorial in London despite those appearing in other major cities in the UK and abroad.
Ash continued: “2016 is the 20th anniversary since the widespread use of the life-saving anti-retroviral therapy that slowed the number of deaths and allowed victims to imagine living a life with HIV rather than it being the ‘death sentence’ it was once known. This is therefore a time to reflect and remember those who were lost by the virus and a memorial would ensure they are never forgotten.”
Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, adds: “It is time for a symbol of remembrance and reflection on the lives of those we loved and lost. Please support this commendable, long overdue initiative.”
The former Green candidate for Mayor of London last December pledged to create a London AIDS Memorial.