UEA celebrated Aids awareness week, with events running aiming to “increase transparancy and visibility” for those affected.
One of the organisers of Aids Awareness week, Kieran Burden, became concerned about Aids visibility after growing up watching his mother work as an HIV care worker for ‘Fight Back’. He said, “I grew up helping my mum, asking her questions like ‘Why are these people sick?’ I am now in a position where I can actually do something.”
Burden led the project, alongside UEA SU Campaigns and Liberation Co-ordinator James Barker, LGBT+ open place officer Sharmin Hoque, and LGBT+ Trans and non-binary place officer Lee Brown. There were events, run throughout the week, such as a PrEP discussion group with UEA Pride.
The ‘Beat the Stigma’ exhibition (pictured) featured artwork by Debbie Peek, Lizzy Graham, Blyth Aimson, Georgia Tomlinson-Spense and Kieran Burden. Covering a variety of mediums, from video to the stencil prints, the artists focused on issues surrounded HIV and Aids, such as the desexualisation of those living with HIV.
The exhibition also featured a petition that demanded the NHS provide PrEP treatment to MSM communities.
However, on the 4th December the NHS announced they will be launching a trial of the PrEP drug, after losing a Court of Appeal battle over who should fund it. This drug has been shown to reduce the risk of infection in people who are at high risk by more than 90 percent.
Last month, the Court of Appeal upheld a High Court ruling which said NHS England did have the power to fund the drug, despite their insistence that responsibility lay with local authorities. The NHS have since announced that they will fund “a large scale clinical trial in the early financial year 2017-18” for the drug.
At least 10,000 people will be enrolled on the trial over the next three years.