HIV-AIDS awareness

MQT on 2011-03-23
Session date: 
March 23, 2011
Question By: 
James Cleverly
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Does the Mayor share my alarm at the growing ignorance surrounding HIV-AIDS as high lighted in a recent National AIDS Trust survey? What does he believe he can do to tackle this through his public health responsibilities?


Answer for HIV-AIDS awareness

Answer for HIV-AIDS awareness

Answered By: 
The Mayor

James, this is a subject on which I think there is a risk of too much complacency and I thank you for bringing it up because it is a real issue. I think I am right in saying that incidents of HIV in London are now on the increase again. We need to be using our public health powers, if we get these budgets which I hope we will, to use the projection of strategic public health strategies across London to make people more aware of the risks of HIV and AIDS because it is on the increase again.

James Cleverly (AM): Mayor, I welcome that response. You are absolutely right; in the UK the annual contraction rates of HIV-AIDS has risen from less than 2,000 cases per year in 2001 to almost 2,000 in 2010. You have mentioned about the public health responsibilities; obviously a proposal is being put forward for a London Health Improvement Board. Will you ensure that Aids awareness and safe sex messages are a priority issue for that board as and when it is formed?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I will. Of course, you will know that we have appointed Annie Lennox as the HIV Ambassador for London and we recently had here in City Hall an expert round table for various partners involved in combating Aids, including the National Aids Trust. We had a big event here on World Aids Day.

James Cleverly (AM): Mayor, you used the word 'complacency' and I think that is a really appropriate word. In 1987 when the original 'Don't Die of Ignorance' campaign was run there was an immediate and sustained reduction in the rate of HIV contraction. As we recognise London has a higher proportion of high risk groups than the nation on average, do you accept that we have an increased responsibility to, I suppose, update and rebroadcast those awareness messages in the capital?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes. I am delighted by the work of not just Annie Lennox but the peer outreach group. We have trained ten of the GLA peer outreach workers on HIV and sexual health facts, we have had an exhibition that told the story of Londoners affected by HIV in December 2010 and last month we launched the C Card scheme for young people to designative that accessing of condoms. So, you cannot say we are not working on it.

James Cleverly (AM): I have a concern that there may be the risk of duplication of effort and a lack of coordination between the proposed roles of Public Health England and the potential roles of the London Health Improvement Board. Will you ensure that on this issue - ideally on all issues - that there is a proper coordinated approach, the pooling of budgets if necessary, to support this increased awareness campaign for HIV-AIDS?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Of course.

James Cleverly (AM): Thank you, Mayor.