On Friday, December 1, in the shadow of the Brighton AIDS Memorial, The Mayor of Brighton & Hove, led city dignitaries in the reading of the names of those who had died from HIV/Aids in the city since the start of the pandemic.
Politicians present included Peter Kyle MP for Hove and Portslade, Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven, Cllr Warren Morgan leader of the City Council, Cllr Phelim MacCafferty Convenor of the Green Party and Cllrs Dan Chapman and Daniel Yates. Geoff Raw the Chief Executive of Brighton and Hove City Council was also present along with representative from Sussex Police.
James Ledward editor of Gscene magazine spoke about cutbacks to the city’s sexual health budget planned for 2017-2018 and said these “were a red line in the sand”. He warned that any further cuts in 2018-2019 could result in the city missing the fast track Cities targets it has signed up to and the Martin Fisher Foundation target of eliminating new HIV infections in Brighton and Hove by 2025.
Anna Bamford, Clinical Service Manager at the Community HIV Specialist Service, has been a nurse for the last thirty years, much of it spent in the HIV field supporting people with HIV in Brighton and Hove and West Sussex. Anna spoke passionately about the importance of tackling stigma and discrimination.
The Vigil was organised by the World AIDS Day partnership of organisations which includes: Avert, BHCC Partnership Community Safety Team, Brighton & Hove LGBT Community Safety Forum, Gscene, Lunch Positive, Sussex Beacon, The Sussex Community Foundation NHS Trust. Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Sussex Ecumenical HIV Chaplaincy and THT.
Lunch Positive the HIV lunch club, provided warm drinks and the Brighton and Hove LGBT Community Safety Forum organised sound, lights and production.
Photos by Alice Blezard