The Student Stop AIDS Speaker Tour is underway! We are half way through and have been traveling though Scotland and North England visiting Universities and promoting the voices of young people affected by HIV and AIDS from across the world. There are still two weeks left and we are heading south! We are also hosting an APPG event in Parliament taking place on 18th February, where we will be joined by Under Secretary of State for International Development, Lynne Featherstone.
Speakers this year include Beyonce Karungi, Dan Glass and Lynette Destiny
Beyonce is a transgender woman from Uganda who found that she was HIV positive not much longer than a year ago. Beyonce has witnessed first-hand the stigma that her and other transgender women face accessing proper healthcare services and treatment. Beyonce’s story is a powerful one, early activism helped her realise that she has a strong voice and through her organization, Transgender Equality Uganda she is now supporting other transgender people to stand up and be themselves.
Dan is an award winning activist, performer and writer. Named one of the UK’s youth climate leaders by the Guardian, and one of Attitude Magazine’s 66 new role models, Dan continues to speak, perform, train, write and mobilise for people power. Dan has worked to develop many organisations committed to racial, economic, social and environmental justice. When the cuts to HIV services began to bite Dan decided it was time to put a spanner in the works as the personal really was political this time. Dan is the founder of The Glass is Half Full Network which includes trainings, writings, artworks, organising resources and a comprehensive guide to movements for social and environmental justice. He is also currently working with ‘SHAFTED?! “Building a HIV army”’ -which is a growing coalition of grassroots groups, people and organisations who are campaigning against HIV/AIDS service cuts. ‘SHAFTED?!’”Building a HIV army”’ – a show scripted and created by those living with HIV – is a ‘coming out’ project to expose the reality of what it means to live with HIV in 2013.
Lynette, who is 18 years old, talks of the stigma that she experienced at school being HIV positive and how this has influenced her to support others and create more awareness of the issues faced by young people living with HIV in the UK.
The talks have been incredibly moving and powerful, inspiring students to take more action to ensure that 15 million people are able to access treatment by 2015.
Rachel from Edinburgh University has said that “hearing the powerful stories of young people living with HIV and all the work that they have done to support others is so inspiring. With the right care and support people living with HIV are able to live long and healthy lives and everyone should have the right to access this treatment.”