Too few of us know that one of our biggest local employers is actually an amazing charity called the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. They help people most vulnerable to HIV in 40 countries around the world. This includes marginalised or criminalised people such as LGBT people, sex workers and people who use drugs.
I took Mary Creagh, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, to the Alliance head office to meet their staff and learn more about their work.
I’ve met some of their global team before and I was staggered to learn of the differences in contraction rates around the world. For example, in the UK intravenous drug users have low contraction rates but in some of the former Soviet satellite countries it can be as high as 90%. It shows that a country’s policy on public health really matters.
The Alliance also works in the UK and there is much to do. Sadly contraction rates in the LGBT community here in Brighton and Hove are rising again, so partnerships between organisations like the Alliance, The Sussex Beacon, THT, and local policy makers is really essential to turn the tide.
I’m proud that Labour established the Department for International Development (DfID) because having been an aid worker myself I have seen how solving problems abroad is not just the morally right thing to do, it also stops problems making their way to our shores too. DfID fund the Alliance along with USAID and the United Nations and it is a charity we should be really proud to have here with us in our community.
One of the reasons I want to become an MP is to champion the work of organisations striving to improve the quality of life for people in our communities and those living in the tougher parts of our planet – it’s one of the things that keeps me campaigning so hard to win your trust as we approach the election. All the best, Peter