Shadow Minister joins activists taking to the water at Labour Party Conference to say don’t miss the boat to ending AIDS

Activists took to the water in the Albert Docks to demand urgent action to avoid missing the UN Sustainable Development Goal of ending AIDS by 2030. Joined by Preet Gill MP, Shadow Minister for International Development, they displayed a banner that reads ‘We can end AIDS by 2030. Don’t miss the boat!’.

The stunt was to raise awareness of the need for the UK to make a bold pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which has saved over 50 million lives and reduced AIDS-related deaths by over 70% in countries where it operates since 2002.

UNAIDS recent report In Danger states that faltering progress in the global response meant that approximately 1.5 million new HIV infections occurred last year – over 1 million more than the global targets – and a life was lost to AIDS-related illness every minute.

At the recent Global Fund replenishment conference in New York, donors committed $14.25 billion toward a target of $18 billion. With the UK unable to pledge at the conference, pressure is mounting to help make up the shortfall as much as possible.

Preet Gill MP, Shadow Minister for International Development, said:

“I am proud that it was a Labour Government that co-founded the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria back in 2002. Since then, incredible progress has been made towards eliminating these diseases. 

But HIV remains stubborn. New transmissions occur disproportionately among young women and girls – once every 2 minutes in 2021.

It is essential that we don’t miss the boat to ending AIDS by 2030, and this means investing now, rather than stepping back from historic UK leadership.”

James Cole, Advocacy Manager at STOPAIDS, said:

“It is not too late to get the global response to ending AIDS by 2030 back on track. This is simply a matter of political will. 

Our G7 allies understand this goal is achievable with the right investment and have stepped up their pledges to the Global Fund, the UK must now follow suit.

For the Labour Party, they must continue to ensure HIV is prioritised in their international development strategy. When it comes to infectious diseases, no one is safe until we are all safe; the Global Fund and organisations like Unitaid that drive health care innovations are essential to ensuring we can respond to health crises effectively.”

The Labour Party has agreed to return the Overseas Development Assistance budget to 0.7% of Gross National Income if it returns to power. The Conservative Government had cut the budget to 0.5% of GNI in 2020.