Tag Archives: Lord Fowler

AIDS: Don’t Die of Prejudice!

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Eighteen million people around the world live with HIV but do not know they are infected. Endangering both themselves and countless others, they represent a public health challenge that affects not only Africa but every part of the world, including Europe and the United States. We stand at a tipping point in the AIDS crisis – and unless we can increase the numbers tested and treated, we will not defeat it. In spite of the progress since the 1980s there are still over 1.5 million deaths and over 2 million new HIV infections a year.

Former Health Secretary Lord Fowler has travelled to nine cities around the globe to report on the position today. What he discovered was a shocking blend of ignorance, prejudice, bigotry and intolerance. In Africa and Eastern Europe, a rising tide of discrimination against gay and lesbian individuals prevents many from coming forward for testing. In Russia, drug users are dying because an intolerant government refuses to introduce the policies that would save them. Extraordinarily, Washington has followed suit and excluded financial help for proven policies on drugs, and has turned its back on sex workers.

Norman Fowler started his career as a journalist at The Times and for over thirty years was an elected MP, serving in Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet before becoming Chairman of the Conservative Party under John Major. He joined the House of Lords in 2001. He is the longest-serving British Health Secretary since the Second World War, and has devoted much of his life to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Aids cover 2.inddIn his new book “AIDS: Don’t die of Prejudice” Norman Fowler reveals the steps that must be taken to prevent a global tragedy. Aids: Don’t Die of Prejudice is a lucid yet powerful account, both an in-depth investigation and an impassioned call to arms against the greatest public health threat in the world today.

 

We ordered a couple of copies which arrived today, our staff will share and read this book and in a couple of weeks, I’ll ask them what they thought of it and gather their opinions for you to read.  If you own your own copy (Amazon Link) we’d like to hear your views, let us know in the comments..

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Lord Fowler: Fight against HIV going backwards because of anti-gay laws

Lord-Fowler

Former Health Secretary Lord Fowler says the fight against HIV is “going backwards” because of anti-gay laws in many parts of the world.

Lord Fowler, who served as Margaret Thatcher’s Health Secretary until 1987, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “The real problem is that you have got 35 million people living with HIV in the world today, but half of those don’t know they have the infection.

“And one of the reasons why they won’t come forward for testing is because of the prejudice and the laws against homosexuality, against gay people, against lesbians and the stigma connected with HIV.”
The Conservative peer added: “Unless we tackle that; my fear is we are going backwards.”

AIDS: Don’t Die of Prejudice, a book written by Lord Fowler, charting the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic, is due to be released on Monday, 9th June.

Uganda’s Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo last month accused the country’s HIV support groups of “promoting homosexuality” and warned that he will take action against them.

The Ugandan Parliament has passed a bill that will criminalise intentional transmission of HIV as well as attempted transmission of the virus.  Human Rights Watch (HRW) described Uganda’s HIV law as “deeply flawed” in part because it is based on what the group called “stigma and discrimination.”

Article via Pink News

Want to know more about Lord Fowler? – Check out these articles and get in the know!

 

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Lords Warn About “Woefully Inadequate Government Policies On HIV/AIDS

A House of Lords Select Committee today published a damning report on HIV in the UK, warning that the current priority given to HIV and Aids treatment by policy makers is ‘woefully inadequate’, and revealing that over 100,000 people in the UK will be living with the disease by next year. The Lords Select Committee on HIV and Aids in the UK also warned that the total cost of treatment would soon top £1 billion per year, and called for all new patients at GPs’ surgeries to be tested for the illness on an opt-out basis.

As the Select Committee published its report, the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) released a new plan to help policy makers deal more effectively with HIV. THT said that the plan, ‘Tackling the Spread of HIV in the UK’, would help to bring down the disease’s transmission, and reduce the financial burden on the NHS by concentrating on four actions: halving undiagnosed and late diagnosed infections within three years; increasing the number of people living with HIV taking effective treatment from half to two-thirds in three years; identifying people who persistently take risks that expose them to HIV, and supporting them to change; and increasing HIV awareness.

The Terrence Higgins Trust said it would continue to campaign within the gay community.

THT’s Executive Director of Health Improvement, Genevieve Edwards, told So So Gay she was sure that it was possible to reduce transmission by improving early diagnosis and awareness. ‘Increasing the number of people on treatment is quite do-able, if you think that a quarter of people with HIV aren’t diagnosed,’ she said. ‘Many of those people have already gone past the point at which they should receive treatment. If we can start people on the right treatment sooner, that would go an awfully long way to achieving the target.’

Edwards welcomed the Lords’ recommendation that new patients at GPs’ clinics should be tested on an opt-out basis, especially in areas where infection is more common. ‘This has been done in ante-natal screening, and that’s been one of the big successes in the UK. Very few babies are born with HIV as a result of that campaign, because women who are diagnosed with HIV during pregnancy can be offered the right sort of treatment. So when you’re in an area of high HIV prevalence, this makes sense.’


The Lords Select Committee launched its report to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the iconic ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’ campaign, which was run by the Committee’s Chairman, Lord Fowler – as the then Health Secretary. As the report was published, Fowler pointed out that although HIV was now more survivable than it was in the 1980s, it remained a serious problem and not enough was being done to improve awareness; one recent survey had found that a quarter of young people had received no information about HIV in the classroom.

‘In the last 25 years the development of new drugs has dramatically reduced the death toll,’ he said. ‘But that should not encourage a false sense of security. Serious medical and mental health problems remain for many with HIV. People can now live with HIV, but all of those infected would prefer to be without a disease which can cut short life and cast a shadow over their everyday life.’

Edwards echoed Fowler’s warning about the consequences of infection, but warned against a return to ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’ style scare tactics. ‘Our evidence shows that scare tactics – not just for HIV, incidentally, but for all public health areas – don’t work. People tend to look away, or immediately think it’s aimed at someone else. So while that sort of direct campaign in the 1980s was hugely influential, it wouldn’t have the same impact today. We’ve learned that we need to find different ways to get that message across.

‘Of course, we have to be absolutely clear about the reality of living with HIV in the UK. Treatments have come a long way, and they’re enormously better than they were. But it’s not without consequence. I think we’re very clear about that. On the one hand, you don’t want to scaremonger; but you have to balance that against being honest about the realities.’

Fowler agreed, and said that improved treatment alone would not help. ‘Prevention must be the key policy,’ he added. ‘One essential message remains the same as in the 1980s: the more the partners, the greater the risk. Protect yourself. Use a condom.’

Original Article by Andy Wasley at sosogay.org

LASS offer a completely free and confidential rapid HIV test and you’ll get the results within 60 seconds from a simple finger prick test.  We use the Insti HIV test produced by BioLytical laboratories.  The test is 99.96% accurate from 90 days post contact for detecting HIV 1 and 2 antibodies.  Appointments are not always necessary, if you would like a test, please contact us on 0116 2559995

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