Back at the desk!

I’ve been off on leave for a week and my brain is slowly returning to a reasonable level of clarity!

It was great to come back and see that the conversation and progress around HIV continued! Thanks to BelfastLive for their coverage – Lifetime ban on gay men donating blood lifted in NI

Also, before I went off, I’d been chatting to Shane Quinn, adviser to Lord Lexton, who has a particular interest in how HIV impacts people in NI. I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that on the back of that Positive Life were referenced and quoted by Lord Lexden in a recent debate in the House of Lords:

“Finally, I will say a word about Northern Ireland, for this debate relates to the whole United Kingdom. I have always been particularly interested in all that happens there, including during the time that my noble friend Lord Prior’s father was its deeply committed Secretary of State, more than 30 years ago. The greatest concern of Positive Life, Northern Ireland’s only HIV-specific charity, is the heavy stigma that still attaches to HIV in the Province. It is pressing for investment in education and the raising of greater awareness in both schools and the wider community. It states:

“There has been little communication with the public since the 1980s and a recent public health advertising campaign did little to address the misinformation and myths that surround the condition”.

There could be no more telling reminder of the continuing need to combat prejudice wherever it arises, a point made repeatedly by the noble Lord, Lord Fowler, and emphasised in his book AIDS: Don’t Die of Prejudice. Policy in Northern Ireland is, of course, determined at Stormont, but its leaders must always be able to look to the Government here for an unwavering, resolute approach to combating HIV and for encouragement to emulate it.”

The link to the full debate is:  House of Lords Hansard – Health HIV