“I’m amazed that London, which bore the brunt of the early Aids epidemic, still doesn’t have a memorial to the thousands who died”
Sian Berry, the Green Party candidate for Mayor of London, has pledged her backing for a London Aids Memorial if she is elected to City Hall.
She made the promise before a visit this week to 56 Dean Street, the pioneering NHS clinic in Soho which provides innovative HIV and hepatitis testing programmes and support services for its clients including gay men, sex workers, drug-users and trans people.
She said: “It’s now twenty years since life-saving treatments began to transform HIV from a no-hope condition into something much more manageable. It’s wonderful that people newly diagnosed with HIV today can expect a normal life expectancy, provided the virus is detected early and they receive treatment. That’s why places like 56 Dean Street do such vital work in reaching out to the communities most affected by HIV infection.
“But I’m amazed to hear that London, which bore the brunt of the Aids epidemic in those terrible early days, still doesn’t have a memorial to those thousands who died here. Brighton and Manchester have Aids memorials, as do countless cities around the world, so why not London?
“As new infections remain high, especially among young gay and bisexual men in London, a lasting memorial – either a physical monument, something more interactive, or a living space – would be a valuable tool for health educators as well as a fitting way of remembering those who died.”