HIV/AIDS Memorial in London

Date petition submitted: 
07 December 2016
Petition presented by: 
Sian Berry AM,
Petition presented at: 
London Assembly Plenary

Summary of petition

“Ask the Mayor to support a UK HIV/AIDS Memorial in London. Support us in the creation of a UK HIV/AIDS Memorial. London, the chosen city, was hardest hit by the pandemic in the UK. It is from there where many of the National HIV/AIDS services were established. We the undersigned call on the Mayor of London to support us in the creation of a UK HIV/AIDS Memorial. HIV/AIDS disproportionally affected gay men but also new African communities; people with haemophilia; prisoners and injecting drug users. It influenced the whole nation by forcing us to confront deep rooted prejudices and ask questions about equality, difference, religion, morality and identity which hit at the very core of our values as a people and as a nation. There is currently no memorial to those who died in London in contrast to most other major cities affected including Amsterdam, Auckland, Barcelona, Berlin, Brighton, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Dublin, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Kiev, LA, Madrid, Manchester, Melbourne, Montreal, Moscow, Munich, NYC, Paris, San Francisco, San Salvador, Sydney, Toronto, Vienna and Zurich. We want the Mayor of London to support our campaign for a national memorial in the city, by meeting with campaigners and helping in practical ways to find a location, funding and wider support. Why Now? 1) 2017 is the 50th Anniversary of the passing of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 which partly decriminalised sexual acts between two men in private and aged over 21. 2) 2016 is the 20th anniversary since the widespread use of the life-saving anti-retroviral therapy that arrested the number of deaths and literally, allowed for a new awakening. 3) New communities are examining and documenting their unique histories for future generations to make more sense of their own lives and to make secure as well as more grounded, their identities and narratives. The National AIDS Memorial in London aims: • To pay tribute to the men, women and children who died in the UK; • To remember the struggles of those living with HIV as well as those who took on the challenge to treat, support and campaign for those who were affected by AIDS; • To acknowledge an almost forgotten period in British history; • To form a linear historical path between the past, the present and the future for all the communities in the UK who bore the brunt of the epidemic; • To remember those worldwide who perished and who continue to live with HIV, the majority of whom still cannot access treatment. This campaign is being led by GMFA (Gay Men Fighting AIDS), in conjunction with the UK HIV sector.”

Response information

Response title: 
Mayor's Response
Name of person responding: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
Response date: 
24 January 2017
"Thank you for your letter of 21 December 2016 enclosing the e-petition about a UK HIV/AIDS memorial in London. HIV is still a major public health issue and an inequalities issue for Londoners. HIV prevalence is more than twice as high in London as in England as a whole, and more than two fifths of all people newly diagnosed with HIV in the UK live in London. I believe that prevention is absolutely critical to our efforts to get to grips with HIV and that is why I am supporting a renewed focus on prevention and early diagnosis of HIV in London through my forthcoming Health Inequalities Strategy. HIV prevention will continue to be at the heart of sexual health work, and sexual health is firmly embedded in citywide public health programmes such as Healthy Schools London. A member of my Culture Team met with Ash Kotak and Sian Berry on 9 January 2017 to discuss this memorial. This was a very positive first discussion and my team will continue to advise as the project develops. As you will be aware, permissions for any memorial will rest with the Local Authority where it will be sited, so the first step will be to agree an appropriate location. I wish GMFA (Gay Men Fighting Aids) every success in building an HIV/AIDs memorial in London. Please do share this letter with Sian Berry AM and GMFA. Thank you again for writing to me".