Lord Cashman and Lord Black of Brentwood become new patrons of Terrence Higgins Trust (THT).
As Patrons of the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity, they will take on the challenge of working towards ending HIV transmission and supporting people to live well with HIV in the UK.
The new patrons will join an eclectic group of current THT Patrons including Stephen Fry, Tracey Emin and Dame Judi Dench.
Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “We are honoured to welcome Lord Cashman and Lord Black as Patrons of Terrence Higgins Trust.
“We are excited and very grateful for the unique contributions that each will bring to the charity, and their commitment and passion in helping stop HIV stigma and end HIV transmission.”
Lord Black is the first openly gay Conservative peer, and is a passionate HIV campaigner, championing the need for HIV prevention treatment, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), to be available to people at risk of the virus.
Lord Black, who became a life peer in the House of Lords in 2010, said: “I first became aware of the vital work of Terrence Higgins Trust back in the 1990s.The charity’s campaigning on HIV was crucial in the decade where huge advances were made in treatment. , I was inspired by the wonderful care it provided – and still provides – to people living with HIV.
“Today, Terrence Higgins Trust’s work remains as vital as ever, though the challenges have evolved. The HIV story is far from over. Despite the incredible medical progress that’s been made, the biggest challenge we still face is stigma, which undoubtedly has an impact on rates of testing.
“Last September, I led a debate in Parliament on the elimination of the virus, and I will continue to support Terrence Higgins Trust and its work in Parliament, where we need to continue to keep the pressure up.”
Lord Cashman, a founder of Stonewall, is a strong advocate of LGBT+ rights, using his political roles to tackle homophobia and to increase awareness of HIV. He is also well-known for his role as Colin Russell in EastEnders.
Lord Cashman, who has been a life peer in the House of Lords since 2014, said: “I started actively supporting Terrence Higgins Trust in the early days of the AIDS crisis, back in the 1980s. It was a dark and depressing time but the awareness-raising, fundraising and the sheer determination to inform, protect and save lives, and to comfort those living with HIV, was both remarkable and exemplary.
“We still face many challenges when it comes to HIV, including encouraging more people to test early, increasing access to PrEP, and supporting people living with HIV as they grow older. And one of our biggest dangers is complacency and the assumption that HIV is a thing of the past.
“Now as a Patron, as well as a parliamentarian, gay man, LGBT activist, and campaigner, I will continue supporting Terrence Higgins Trust in its vital work.”
Ian Green added, “We look forward working with Michael and Guy towards a world where people with HIV can live healthy lives, free from prejudice and discrimination.”