Wow! What a fantastic day we’ve had with the Edinburgh branch of the Student StopAIDS campaign. As a newbie to the society I had no idea how much fun campaigning could be… Dressing up in pool gear (bikinis and rubber rings included!), getting 127 action cards signed and raising awareness about the Patent Pool – it was action packed, if a little chilly in the freezing Scottish wind!
And that was just the beginning: in the evening the Speaker Tour landed and had a great event attended by our two great speakers Mo Barry from Gambia, and Leasuwanna Griffiths from the UK, as well as Edinburgh MP Mark Lazarowicz, Cathy from ImpactAIDS, Marjorie from the Church of Scotland, and many keen Edinburgh Uni students who braved the cold in order to come and hear about the campaign.
I wasn’t expecting the night to be very uplifting, and it certainly wasn’t easing hearing about Leasuwanna’s struggle with discrimination both from strangers and from the public, and how Mo contracted HIV after he cut his head playing football aged 7 and was given infected blood by doctors. But everyone left the night inspired by both the bravery of the guests and the work that students have done up and down the country to ensure that people like Mo and Leasuwanna get the treatment and support they need. Although we know there’s still a long way to go, it was really great to see how much has been achieved by small groups just like us. Let the pool party roll on!
By Harriet White