After the overwhelming success of the Stop AIDS Speaker’s Tour in October, we had a lot to live up to for December 1st’s World AIDS Day, but the Sussex Stop AIDS Campaign certainly didn’t disappoint. From the morning, we had a stall in the main Library Square handing out flyers, condoms,ribbons, badges and much more, all bearing vital information about transmission and stigma of HIV, the Patent Pool campaign and loads of other awareness-raising issues. It really was a team effort too, with groups from the university’s LGBTQ and Oxfam societiers, as well as several volunteers from avert.org, Terence Higgins Trust and Sussex Beacon also helping out – overall, we had about 15 of us campaigning, and that great level of support was mirrored in the wonderfully positive response of the hundreds of students that came to our stand, chatted to us about campaigns, and donated to our cause.
This followed on from the previous week’s talk that the society organised on campus. We had major speakers from the university’s IR and IDS departments, as well as representatives from the aforementioned avert.org, the World’s largest website committed to the fight against HIV and AIDS, and the turn-out reflected the quality of the speakers.
But it didn’t just stop after these two magnificent events. In fact, the Sussex Stop AIDS group, who broke the nationwide university record for number of action cards signed back in October, had the evening of World AIDS Day all planned out as well. Our ‘Start Dancing, Stop AIDS’ music event, at the Latest Music Bar in Brighton later that night, featured some incredible performers as well as some inspiring words on the campigns from our Vice President Hannah Joy Hulin. In fact, the event was such a success that we eventually had to turn people away after so many turned up. A really great and worthwhile way to spend our World AIDS Day, and a clear sign that when the Stop AIDS societies from all around the country descend on Brighton for February’s AGM, it’s sure to be an event that will go down in HIV-fighting history.
by Tom Bucher, Sussex Student Stop AIDS.