The Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Cllr Pete West leads the reading of the names on World Aids Day of those lost to AIDS/HIV in Brighton & Hove, since the start of the health crisis that robbed the city of a generation of young gay men.
Other dignitaries reading the names included Caroline Lucas MP for Brighton Pavilion, Cllr Andrew Wealls deputy leader of the Conservative Group, Cllr Gill Mitchell deputy leader of the Labour Group and Cllr Phelim Mac Cafferty Convenor of the Greens, Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp from Sussex Police, Geoff Raw Chief Executive of Brighton & Hove City Council and representatives of LGBT/HIV voluntary sector organisations, social groups and health providers.
James Ledward, editor of Gscene Magazine welcomed everyone to the event and reminded them of the importance of challenging all forms of stigma. He explained the importance of regular testing in order to achieve the Martin Fisher Foundation target of ZERO HIV by 2025 and finished by calling on everyone to lobby their politicians and councillors to encourage the Government to make PrEP available on the National Health Service to all people in high risk groups. He highlighted how last year the NHS spent £80million pounds on paracetamol which can be purchased at Tesco for 29p.
Campaigners and clinicians are asking NHS England for just £20 million of that £80 million pounds to be allocated to make PrEP available on prescription for those groups most at risk and help eradicate HIV by 2025.
After a minute’s silence the names of those lost in Brighton & Hove to HIV/Aids since the start of the pandemic were read and then people laid their candles round the Brighton Aids Memorial ‘Tay’.
The Vigil was organised by the World Aids Partnership which includes: Avert, Brighton & Hove City Council Partnership Community Safety Team, Brighton Gems, Gscene Magazine, Lunch Positive, Peer Action, The Sussex Beacon, The Sussex Ecumenical Chaplaincy, Terrence Higgins Trust and The Brighton & Hove LGBT Community Safety Forum who provided the staging, sound and lighting for the event.