Pamela Nash MP pays tribute to Nelson Mandela’s work to tackle the stigma of HIV/AIDS and calls on the UK Government to do more

10th December 2013

Today, Pamela Nash MP lead a debate on the international response to the HIV and AIDS, calling on the Government to do more to tackle the stigma and punitive laws which exist in many countries and to ensure all people have access to life saving treatment, regardless of where they live.

As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS, Pamela was praised during the debate for her work to keep the issue on the Government’s agenda. Pamela paid tribute to the late Nelson Mandela whose bravery in talking openly about his son’s death to AIDS was a major landmark in the fight against the epidemic.
Pamela said: “Last year 1.6 million people died from AIDS. Those 1.6m did not die because treatment does not exist. Most are likely to have died because the medicines were too expensive for them to buy, or because the stigma was too great for them to seek help in time.”

“HIV is not just a medical issue, but a social one and one of the key human rights concerns of today. 30 years into the epidemic and AIDS is still sadly a major health and human rights issue, despite the leaps and bounds in progress we have made in prevention, testing and treatment. As we mourn the loss of Nelson Mandela we remember his vital contribution to the public discourse and must keep his message alive: ‘AIDS is no longer just a disease, it is a human rights issue.’”

“Today I called on the Minister to do more to ensure the 16 million people still not on treatment for HIV will have access to live saving medicines in the future. It is morally wrong that we have the science to treat HIV yet people are still dying of this illness.”