Don't Die of Ignorance: World AIDS Day Debate in Lords

25 November 2011

The UK’s ‘woefully inadequate’ efforts to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS will be the subject of debate in the House of Lords on World AIDS Day, Thursday 1 December, when it discusses the Lords Select Committee report, No vaccine, no cure, that was published in September.

The Lords Committee on HIV and AIDS in the UK reported that the numbers accessing care had trebled since 2000 and the number of people living with HIV was due to rise above 100,000 in 2012.

The report identified that while £762m a year was spent on treatment for HIV and AIDS in the UK, just £2.9m was spent on national prevention programmes. Estimates for the cost of a lifetime of treatment for someone with HIV is between £280,000 and £360,000, meaning a greater focus and investment in prevention of the disease would provide financial as well as health benefits.

The Committee recommended that the Department of Health should undertake a new national prevention campaign using a broad range of media to ensure key messages around prevention of HIV transmission are understood by the public and acted upon.

The debate will take place in the House of Lords after 2pm on Thursday 1 December, which is World Aids Day.

Lord Fowler, Chairman of the Lords Committee on HIV and AIDS will open the debate with Government Health Spokesman Baroness Northover replying for the Government. Other speakers include Baroness Massey of Darwen, Chair of the National Treatment Agency.

Commenting ahead of the debate Lord Fowler said:

“There has been a significant rise in the number of people receiving treatment for HIV and AIDS since 2000. Our Committee was concerned that there is now a whole generation of people whose lack of knowledge of the risks of HIV and AIDS puts them in danger, and we are disappointed that the Government chose to reject our recommendation that it would now be right to launch a new campaign.

“Spending a relatively small amount of money now to make sure people are aware of the risks of HIV and AIDS could produce significant savings for health budgets in the future as well as providing clear public health benefits. The debate in the Lords on Worlds AIDS Day will be an opportunity to press the Government on this matter and ask them to reconsider.”

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