HIV and World AIDS Day

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:38 pm on 29th November 2018.

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Photo of Stephen Doughty Stephen Doughty Labour/Co-operative, Cardiff South and Penarth 3:38 pm, 29th November 2018

As chair of the all-party group on HIV and AIDS, may I first offer a fulsome tribute to the bravery, courage and example of my hon. Friend Lloyd Russell-Moyle? He has not only shared with us his own very personal experiences in such a clear and honest way that will have an impact in this country and globally; he has also—I would expect nothing less from him—not shied away from the fact that HIV is political. He has mentioned many of the issues still faced by those living with HIV in this country and around the globe, including stigma, discrimination and a lack of access to services. If any message goes out from here today, it should be that we need to continue the fight and end this by 2030, and we can end it. After the example that my hon. Friend has shown today, I am all the more confident that we will do so.

I also pay tribute to my hon. Friend on behalf of other vice-chairs who wanted to be here but could not—Baroness Barker, Lord Black, and my hon. Friend Dr Williams—and who are incredibly proud of what he has done today.

As my hon. Friend said, the situation has dramatically transformed since the first World Aids Day 30 years ago. I remember coming to these issues while working in the international development sector for World Vision, Oxfam and others, and looking at some of the horrific statistics, particularly on young people orphaned or made vulnerable, on those living with HIV and on those dying from AIDS. We saw this as an unreachable mountain that could not be overcome. The progress that has been made over the past 15 years is remarkable, but we must not have a slipping back in that progress.