Last weekend Sussex’s University students hosted 65 campaigners from the Stop AIDS Campaign to agree tactics to urge the UK government for new funds for the global HIV/AIDS response.
Constanza Robles, 18, a student at Sussex University and a campaigner for the Stop AIDS Campaign said: “Despite huge successes in HIV prevention, treatment and care over the last decade, around 5,000 people still die every day from AIDS and half those who need treatment can’t access it.”
“But for the first time ever, we now have the tools to bring an end to the AIDS epidemic – we just need the political will to make it happen. We are asking the UK government to double its contribution to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and to lead a global effort to ensure the Fund has the resources it needs to help the developing world tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Lives are at stake,” said Constanza.
Progress is threatened because of the global economic crisis which has caused a funding shortfall for the HIV/AIDS response of an estimated $2 billion.
Lotti Rutter, Student Stop AIDS Campaign Coordinator explained: “Campaigners have come from across the UK to plan what they can do to ensure the UK leads the world out of the crisis we are currently facing. With so much at stake the government must continue to stand up for people living with HIV around the world who rely on the Global Fund for life.”
Pamela Nash MP, chair of the APPG on HIV/AIDS attended the meeting to hear more about the student’s concerns.
Campaigners will also heard from the Brighton-based charity, The International HIV/AIDS Alliance (the Alliance) who works in 40 countries worldwide about how funds are spent and the impact they have.
“The students’ actions are really making a difference for people in poorer countries trying to survive the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” said Anton Kerr, head of policy at theAlliance.
“The pressure the students put on the UK government to tackle HIV/AIDS is important. In a recent opinion poll nearly three quarters (73%) of the British public think it’s important that the UK government maintains its spending on HIV programmes overseas,” he said.
If you want to join the Stop AIDS Campaign activist network, please contact Lotti Rutter on firstname.lastname@example.org