Join us to mark World AIDS Day

Written by Jessica Bomford, November 15, 2023

To mark World AIDS Day on 1 December 2023, we’re holding an event to remember those who died after being infected with HIV through contaminated blood products and to highlight the urgent need for government action in recognising their loss.

Forty years after the arrival of AIDS in the UK and the emergence of the contaminated blood scandal, many families of those who died after being infected with HIV have not received any compensation from government, nor recognition of the trauma and grief their deaths have caused. Those infected by the virus who survive live with complex health conditions, often worsened by the impact of early, harsh attempts at treating HIV.

Everyone infected and affected deserves full compensation as soon as possible, as recommended by Sir Brian Langstaff, Chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry, in his interim report on compensation, published in April 2023.

Our Dying for Justice event will take place on Friday, 1 December at 11.30am in the gardens outside St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate church, London, EC2M 3TL pictured below, and is open to anyone with a connection to someone infected with HIV through treatment for their bleeding disorder. We welcome people from all faiths or none.

Please join us for readings, the lighting of candles and a time of quiet reflection to remember loved ones. This will be followed by a photocall featuring banners calling for the payment of full compensation immediately.

If you would like something short to be read in tribute to a loved one who has died following an HIV infection but cannot attend the event, you can send us the reading and we will ensure it is read at the event. We do not need to name the person.

For anyone attending, please bring a reading, poem, message and photograph, if appropriate.

Last month, Clive Smith, Chair of the Haemophilia Society, Bill Wright, Chair of Haemophilia Scotland and Simon Hamilton, Chair of Haemophilia NI, wrote to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, asking him to abandon his ‘untenable’ position of refusing to consider paying full compensation until after the inquiry’s final report has been published. They asked him to respond before World AIDS Day. We have so far not had a reply. You can read their letter here. EDIT: We didn’t get a reply from Mr Sunak, but we got a letter on his behalf which you can read here.

St Botolph’s is where we hold our annual Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance. It is the home of the Book of Remembrance which lists the names of people with a genetic bleeding disorder who died because of treatment with contaminated blood products. An icon of St Luke the Physician is mounted at the memorial, where a candle burns in memory of those who died.

The church has kindly offered us the use of its hall for hot drinks and refreshments following the event.

If you can attend or would like us to read out a poem or message in memory of a loved one, please contact us at [email protected].