On Wednesday 18th January two students Rachael Crockett (Edinburgh) and Joe McArthur (UCL) represented the Student Stop AIDS Campaign at a meeting which would shape the movement of the UK’s response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The day provided a chance for members of the UK Consortium on AIDS and International Development (the people who coordinate the Stop AIDS Campaign) to review the last six months, discuss and update our strategic priorities, and plan the coming six months of advocacy activities across the AIDS Consortium and Stop AIDS Campaign. Having not been involved in the campaign for that long, it was incredible to speak to and engage with so many different activists from a wide range of organisations such as Tearfund, Results UK, IPPF, Help the Hospices, Christian Aid and the chairs of APPG on HIV, TB and Malaria and felt I gained an incredible amount of knowledge.
The day started off with a review of World AIDS day and how the AIDS Consortium would respond to the Department for International Development’s (DFID) HIV Position Paper. It was interesting to hear the opinions and priorities of so many different organisations on such a broad range of HIV issues across the spectrum of prevention, treatment, care and support. As students we were a bit apprehensive to begin with, but as the day progressed we both felt that our opinions were listened to and taken into consideration especially on topics surrounding access to medicines such as the Patent Pool and EU-India Free Trade Agreement, things that the Student Stop AIDS Campaign have been campaigning strongly on.
Overall it was an amazing opportunity to be part of something so fundamental to the activities of the AIDS Consortium, myself and Joe came away enthused and excited about the next 6 months. An end to AIDS within a generation – watch this space!
Edinburgh Student Stop AIDS Society
Steering Committee Representative