Lighting up red on World Aids Day

This Thursday, the Civic Centre clock tower will be lit up red in an act of remembrance for all those lost to an AIDS-related illness – some 38 million people worldwide – and to show our determination that we will end new cases of HIV in Wales by 2030.

Newport has brilliant HIV care at the Royal Gwent Hospital, PREP (the drug taken by people who test negative for HIV to stay negative) is free on the NHS and free at-home HIV testing is now available all year round from https://www.friskywales.org

The Welsh Government is currently reviewing consultation feedback – including from Newport City Council – on its draft HIV Action Plan. The finalised document is due in the new year and will have key commitments for councils, health boards and partner organisations.

Newport is home of the co-founder of the Terrence Higgins Trust, Martyn Butler. He, and fellow co-founder Rupert Whitaker, was awarded an OBE this year for their efforts.

Councillor Jane Mudd, leader of Newport City Council, said: “This small but important symbol, to have the Civic Centre clock tower lit in red, is a reminder to the people of Newport that we will not forget those lost to HIV over the years, that we stand with those grieving the premature loss of a loved one and support those living with HIV today.

“We await the Welsh Government’s HIV Action Plan and stand together in our determination to end new cases of HIV in Wales by 2030. I will wear my red ribbon with pride – I hope the city does too.”

Martyn Butler, the co-founder of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “World AIDS Day is an important moment each year and it means a lot that Newport Civic Centre will be lit red to memorialise those Newport residents lost or affected by the HIV epidemic these past four decades.

“I will be thinking of all the friends I have loved and lost, including Terry Higgins who was the first named person to die of an AIDS-related illness 40 years ago this year.

“But World AIDS Day is not just a day of remembrance or nostalgia, it’s also a reminder of the ongoing struggle and devastating impact of HIV stigma, as well as an opportunity to encourage HIV testing and highlight the support available within the local community.”

Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day. Find out more about the Terence Higgins Trust https://www.tht.org.uk/