HIV and sexual health charities make history by marching together at London Pride

For the first time in the history of London Pride, HIV and sexual health charities have joined forces to march together in the parade.

The unprecedented move was triggered by NHS England’s shocking refusal to fund PrEP, a prevention drug which experts believe ‘could help end the HIV epidemic’.  

An army of supporters from thirteen organisations came together at the Pride parade under the banner of #United4PrEP, marching from Green Park to Trafalgar Square.

The charities include GMFA, National AIDS Trust, Terrence Higgins Trust, METRO, 56 Dean Street, Positive East, Positive 21, Positively UK, London Friend Counselling, Naz, Spectra, CliniQ and King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

These are part of a wider #United4PrEP coalition of HIV and sexual health organisations and activists who are campaigning for PrEP for all who need it.

GMFA’s Matthew Hodson said, “The earliest response to HIV and AIDS came from community activists, many of them gay and bisexual men, but also lesbians, trans people and the heterosexual men and women who were our allies. Our friends were dying and we needed to take action.

“Today we see that same passion and commitment among the LGBT and HIV communities, demanding that we have the necessary tools to finally bring about an end to new HIV infections. Our organisations are united with doctors, nurses, experts in HIV research and public health in calling for PrEP to be made available to those who need it most.

“We fought then and we continue the fight now.”

PrEP, taken as a daily pill, slashes the chance of contracting the virus and, alongside condom use, could stop the spread of HIV among high-risk groups, including men who have sex with men and trans women.

However, after 18 months of false hope, delays and u-turns in the battle to see PrEP made available on the NHS to people at high risk of HIV, the NHS has now denied responsibility for funding the treatment.

NHS England has launched a series of cynical delaying tactics, including a review and a pilot which will make PrEP available to just 500 men over two years.

The controversial NHS position has been met with universal outrage of MPs, HIV organisations and activists, celebrities, local authorities and people affected by HIV.

 You can view photos of GMFA and #United4PrEP at the London Pride parade on Facebook.