TREAT AIDS NOW Campaign Timeline
On the Road to Universal Access
The AIDS Campaign is chosen by the P&P network at the Forum
P&P are a founding member of the Student Stop AIDS Campaign (SSAC). SSAC is a national coalition set up to co-ordinate our activities with other groups in the UK and give us a louder collective voice.
Access to Treatment Campaign Launched at Shared Planet
St Andrew’s asked people to add their hand-prints to a petition
Groups launch TREAT AIDS NOW on campuses on World AIDS Day 40 groups at universities and schools around the country launched their TREAT AIDS NOW campaigns with a variety of actions, from silence to street theatre and band nights to bungee jumps! They collected thousands of signatures on giant letters to the government, urging then to take Action for Care and Treatment now!
People & Planet students and other members of the Student Stop AIDS Campaign coalition meet the Minister for AIDS, Gareth Thomas, on World AIDS Day 2003
Student Campaigners launch their Stop AIDS Campaign in person to one of the two mnisters responsible for AIDS
30 student campaigners, dressed up as doctors and nurses shaking pill packets, met Gareth Thomas (DfID) to hand him a letter urging him and his department to scale up the government’s commitment to AIDS treatment. The minister welcomed our campaign, inviting 20 students inside to hear him make a speech in which he said
“I am particularly grateful to the Student Stop AIDS Campaign for…getting young people involved in the fight against AIDS. Young people are the most heavily affected by AIDS, and your energy and activism…will be crucial.”
The Government announces a ‘call to action’ on AIDS.’
People & Planet took part in the Labour Party’s ‘Big conversation’ DfID invited the public to submit questions concerning HIV/AIDS in advance to the government’s ‘big conversation’. The network submitted questions on access to treatment and the first two questions that were answered by Hilary Benn were ours!
‘Treating AIDS Now’ report launched The government then invited us to meet with DfID and the Treasury to discuss its contents. The government assured us that ‘there are a lot of areas of agreement’.
Hundreds of P&Pers emailed the UK government 435 P&Pers responded to an E-action alert to submit their access to treatment position and key points to an online government consultation in the run up to the launch of the UK Government’s HIV/AIDS strategy. DfID mentioned that “every submission we receive on a particular issue means we will give that issue more weight” and in true P&P style we took advantage of this!
Sheffield and Leeds P&P met with Hilary Benn Sheffield P&P left Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for International Development, visibly stunned when they presented him with 300 pill action cards that they had collected in only two hours. Benn, who had been invited to deliver a speech on AIDS to students at Leeds, expressed support for student campaigning on AIDS, ending his speech by saying “Politics is the process by which we divvy up all the money we have to spend, and there are lots of competing demands for that money. Pressure from campaigners is necessary to put issues such as AIDS on the agenda.”
The government launched its first ever strategy DfID launched the government’s new HIV/AIDS strategy. It stated that the government will ‘continue to work towards’ the 3by5 target and will ‘take steps at an international level’ to increase access to medicines. This was fantastic news for HIV/AIDS campaigners, making an important first step towards scaling up AIDS treatment, and proving that government listens to us.
A display at the International AIDS conference
P&P go to the International AIDS conference in Bangkok Jess Worth from the P&P support office travelled to the International AIDS Conference and linked up with student activists from Students Against Global AIDS (Canada) and Student Global AIDS Campaign (US). Plans began for a youth coalition that could work together in the run up to the G8 summit.
Unite to Fight AIDS Speaker Tour Speakers from Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Canada toured university groups across the country to speak about how HIV has affected their lives, reaching over 1000 students. For more info on future tours visit the speaker tour page.
Sheffield collect pillcard petitions to give to Gareth Thomas
World AIDS Day
P&P groups across the country took action on World AIDS Day. Sheffield P&P presented the petitions and action cards that they collected to Gareth Thomas, MP.
P&Pers attended a meeting with Blair in his constituency
P&P asked Blair if he would ‘put universal access to treatment at the top of the G8 agenda?’ Six months later this question was answered with a commitment to universal access to AIDS treatment by 2010 being included in official G8 communique.
International Coalition work continues
Having built up a strong coalition of students from the US, UK and Canada who were actively sharing protest experience and information on our governments´ actions on AIDS, we linked up with a wider AIDS G8 coalition, which included all major campaign groups on HIV/AIDS in the G8 countries, co-ordinated by Healthgap US.
Hilary Benn is unable to shake off P&P
Hilary Benn gets the message load and clear from Oxford students.
Hilary Benn was unable to to escape tricky questions from P&P on AIDS in January. P&Pers attending a speech by Hilary Benn at a MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY launch event, asked what action DfID was taking to ensure that the 3by5 target would be met. Frustratingly, his answer failed to outline any concrete plans for meeting the government’s commitment. However, the intrepid P&Pers were able to press him further when they found themselves sharing Mr Benn’s train carriage to Oxford … which he was visiting after an invite from Oxford P&P.
Andrew Smith MP invited Hilary Benn, the Secretary of State for International Development, to speak to his constituents in Oxford. Oxford P&P had been writing to Andrew Smith to ask him to challenge Tony Blair to MAKEAIDSHISTORY in 2005. Mr Benn’s presence in Oxford was a great opportunity to demonstrate the magnitude of support behind our Treat Aids Now campaign, and Oxford P&P seized this with both hands, presenting Hilary Benn with 2000 signed pill-shaped action cards. He was visibly impressed and mentioned them in his speech.
P&Pers out in force in 2005 demanding the G7 to Treat AIDS Now!
Find the missing $2billion protest
Protesting to find the missing $2billion to Treat AIDS Now
The G7 Finance Ministers met in London on 4 February. A week before their visit, the World Health Organisation launched a new report on how the international plan to save the lives of 3 million people with AIDS by the end of 2005 was reported to be under-funded by $2 billion. Without this money the 3by5 initiative would be knocked off course and millions of people would not get the life-saving treatment they desperately need.
P&Pers hand in a Treat AIDS Now petition to 10 Downing Street
P&P decided to organise a snap protest for the day before the Finance Ministers’ meeting to try to convince Gordon Brown to put funding 3by5 on the agenda. After attending a MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY launch in Trafalgar Square, 120 P&Pers marched down Whitehall in doctor’s and nurses uniforms. They handed in a petition to 10 Downing Street and a giant letter to the Treasury demanding that governments TREAT AIDS NOW.
People & Planet joined AIDS-related NGO groups and activists from around the world for a two day meeting in London. The purpose of the meeting was to create a common platform that people concerned about AIDS could use to advocate for an increased global response to the pandemic.
The P&P network were asked to consider whether or not P&P’s campaign should continue to concentrate on access to treatment. There was general consensus that Access to Treatment is still the most important issue to campaign on.
George and Tony’s Phoney Pharmacy
The Phoney Pharmacy Tour
People & Planet and ActionAid worked together to take the Phoney Pharmacy to University campuses across the UK.
The Phoney Pharmacy was a converted ice-cream van, complete with funky décor and a stereo blasting out classics such as `Bad Medicine.´ The Phoney Pharmacy sent out a simple message — George and Tony need to start taking real action because people need access to treatment now, not empty promises.
The Phoney Pharmacy was accompanied with an action pack that included an action guide, campaign briefing, posters and action cards in the style of prescription papers. P&P groups collected thousands of ‘prescriptions’ for Tony Blair.
Labour Party Manifesto includes a commitment to AIDS treatment for all by 2010
The Labour Party announced its commitment to “press for an international agreement on universal access to AIDS treatment by 2010 and for all people in poor countries to have access to free basic healthcare and education.”
Insiders told P&P that the inclusion of the 2010 target was a direct result of our campaigning! People & Planet was in fact the first to call for the 2010 target in the `Treating AIDS Now´ report back in 2003!
The Labour Party was not the only party to be talking about HIV/AIDS during the election campaign. In a speech on World Poverty Day, The Liberal Democrats commented that “action on HIV/AIDS has been disgracefully slow, and resources are still inadequate. We need a fully-funded timetable for universal access to comprehensive care and treatment.”
Oxford P&P call for action on AIDS
People & Planet ensured the spotlight remained on the 3by5 commitment. Oxford P&P took over Oxford’s busiest shopping street to highlight that much more needed to be done if the UK was to keep to the 3by5 commitment. At three minutes to five the group formed a striking human AIDS ribbon attracting a crowd of curious onlookers, supporters and national and local press.
Trafalgar Square launch of ‘The World is Watching’
After the Labour Party’s manifesto commitment to the 2010 target we were determined to ensure they used the G8 presidency to ensure an international commitment to the target. P&Pers gathered in Trafalgar Square to launch the new Stop AIDS Campaign ‘The World is Watching.’ 100 eyeballs and a 20ft telescope descended on Westminster to show the government that the world is watching them to fulfil their promise on AIDS.
P&P signed on to an International Campaign joint platform statement
P&P joined with AIDS-related NGO groups and activists from around the world to call on the G8 to take action to MAKE AIDS HISTORY.
G8 - A huge success for the TREAT AIDS NOW Campaign
P&Pers gathered outside the G8 summit in Scotland with giant eyeballs and walking telescopes to demand that a commitment to AIDS treatment for all by 2010 be made. And it was! The G8 committed to achieving AIDS treatment for all who need it by 2010…BRILLIANT!
Kirsty McNeill from the Stop AIDS Campaign said that
“Student activists from People & Planet have shown that solidarity really can change the world. Campus campaigners have been the backbone of the AIDS treatment movement in the UK and their formidable activism has shifted G8 from being bystanders in the AIDS emergency to visionary radicals in the field of HIV. Thousands of people are dying from HIV every single day. G8 have the power to stop that - and student campaigners have the power to make them use it. The world will never be the same again.”
With the commitment achieved, we started working on ensuring that the action needed to meet the promise was taken.
Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria Stunt
Eyeballing the Global Fund
People & Planet took part in a series of stunts targeting the Global Fund replenishment conference. P&Pers gathered outside the conference with giant eyeball-shaped placards, demonstrating to the donors that `The World is Watching´ their progress towards fulfilling the G8 commitment to achieve universal access to AIDS treatment by 2010. Full funding of the Global Fund is an essential step towards achieving this target.
Disappointingly, only half of the US$7billion that is needed to fund the fight against AIDS, TB and Malaria in 2006-2007 was pledged; this is just enough to fund current projects but not enough to scale up the fight against these diseases. Although the UK pledged 92% of what the NGO community considers their ‘fair share’, the European Commission only pledged 16%.
UN members sign up to the 2010 target
At the 2005 world summit world leaders further cemented their comitment to the 2010 target - another great success for P&P’s campaign.
Tony Benn is watching you!
Eyeball Photo Petition
In the run up to World AIDS Day the Stop AIDS Campaign collected 8,500 photos of people’s eyeballs as part of ‘the World is Watching’ campaign. P&P groups across the country held eyeball photo factory stalls using little portable printers and contributed over 3000 eyeballs!
P&P challenge trade rules
In response to negotiations in the World Trade Organisation, P&Pers emailed the government warning how current trade rules were acting as a barrier to access to affordable AIDS drugs in developing countries, and undermining the G8 Commitment to universal access. Hundreds of students emailed Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for International Development.
Students from Loughborough University met with Gordon Brown at the Trade Justice Mass Lobby of Parliament and took the opportunity to question him on how the TRIPS (Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights) agreement was threatening access to treatment for HIV/AIDS.
P&P issued a briefing and a press release, calling on the UK government to take action at the WTO to ensure that the TRIPS negotiations did not undermine the commitment to universal access to treatment by 2010. Although the outcome on TRIPS was disappointing, the response we received from the Department for Trade & Industry and the Prime Minister’s office gives us plenty to build on as we demand the government takes action to make TRIPS workable for developing countries.
World AIDS Day — watching Blair to make universal access by 2010 a reality.
People & Planet and members of the Stop AIDS Campaign took to the road on World AIDS Day aboard a big red double-decker bus. But this was no ordinary London bus - it was covered inside and out, floor to ceiling with thousands of photos of supporter´s eyes! The bus had been on a mammoth journey across London, visiting the University of London, Trafalgar Square and Embankment, watching decision makers at every possible corner.
Representatives from developing country embassies and over 70 MPs including the Prime Minister himself and Secretary of State for International Development, Hilary Benn boarded the bus. They were visibly impressed and overwhelmed by the personal messages people had added alongside their eyes urging world leaders to save lives by taking action to make AIDS treatment available for all.
The Stop AIDS campaign told Blair that if the 2010 target was to be met more money was needed to meet the treatment target, that TRIPS needed to be made to work for developing countries and that poor countries were being actively prevented from investing in their health services by the IMF imposing limits on how much they can spend. Blair was impressed by how many young people were involved in the campaign, and a representative of the Stop AIDS Campaign told us “There is no way we would´ve got our 10 minutes with Blair without you; you rock!”
Mr Blair was also presented with a letter on behalf of the Student Stop AIDS Campaign that outlines the key areas where young people want to see action taken to make sure that the 2010 target becomes a reality. The letter was a reminder that young people are not going to be silent when it is their generation who is worst affected by the pandemic.
Groups take action on World AIDS Day
P&P groups organised events in universities and schools across the country to mark World AIDS Day. The activity included talks for other students, balloon-launches, parties, letter writing sessions, and stunts illustrating the extent of the HIV/AIDS crisis.