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World Aids Day

December 1, 2010

Like millions of people around the world, I am wearing my red ribbon for World Aids Day.  Over the last 6 years I have worked with a variety of Aids related charities, most notably the Terrance Higgins Trust, on several HIV issues both in Bristol and in Westminster.

I have constantly spoken up for the need for proper sex and relationships education in schools, for affordable anti-retro viral drugs for Africa and for access for treatment for asylum seekers in Britain.

Today I used the rare opportunity of a question to the Prime Minister to ask David Cameron about the coalition government’s plans to combat HIV.  The answer is that we are doing a lot, at home and abroad.  Yesterday’s launch of the Public Health White Paper signals a new approach to public health, often the cinderella of the NHS.  And abroad, we will be the first major country to hit 0.7% of GDP on overseas aid, much of which will benefit public health programmes in the developing world.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Sally Robinson permalink
    December 2, 2010 8:58 pm

    The Public Health White Paper should be an embarassment to Lib Dems. Its prposal for “voluntary agreements” reflects the influence of the food and drink industry, as documented in a Guardian investigation last month. This highlighted that representatives of the major food and drink companies have been working with Andrew Lansley on his approach to public health policy since 2009, and are now integral to his policy machinery at the Department of Health, drafting policy recommendations for civil servants, in reversal of normal government process.

    Prof Ian Gilmore, chairman of the alcohol committee of the Royal College of Physicians, called the government’s measures “window-dressing”, adding that it “looks less like the ‘big society’ and more like big business”.

  2. David Roberts permalink
    December 21, 2010 10:44 am

    Mr Williams I would like to know your opinion of Bristol Councils decision to withdraw all Supporting People funding from the Brigstowe Project. A decison which was made on World Aids Day!

    The Brigstowe Project is the only service that provides day to day support for those living with HIV/Aids in Bristol. As far as I am aware this decison was made without consultation or an assessment of the impact on sufferers and will mean that the Brigstowe Project will have to close.

    Can you tell me what you will do to support Brigtowe?

  3. kenneth permalink
    February 11, 2011 1:57 pm

    You visited The Brigstowe Project January 5th 2011.We hoped you would recognise and understand what the project did and what would be lost if BCC withdrew funding, as they proposed.The loss of vital support and advice services would be devastating to people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS .

    I asked you directly for support as a positive person myself and you are my constituency MP.

    I am dissapointed that you have felt unable to respond on any level to date.

    All that is asked is no more than you offer to other initiatives.Interest and support.

    Yours very sincerely

  4. Cllr Jon Rogers permalink
    February 11, 2011 3:53 pm

    Dear Kenneth

    On another thread, David Roberts has unfairly criticised Stephen. I replied, “Can I be clear to Mr Roberts that the speedy and decisive questioning by Stephen Williams MP on behalf of his constituents of Bristol City Council officers was one of the reasons that I over-ruled the officer recommendation to decommission Brigstowe Project.

    “You may think that it is only by seeking maximum publicity that progress can be made. That is not true, and Stephen is absolutely excellent at the diplomacy and tact required to bring about solutions rather than just generate hot air.”

    And then Stephen said, “David Roberts – I don’t know where on earth you get this opinion from – I met Brigstowe Project within days of them contacting me to say they had a problem. I met the staff and two service users. I wrote to the City Council to back their case and discussed the issue with Cllr Jon Rogers, who had to make the final decision. As you can see from Jon’s posting, the decision was actually a positive one. Incidentally, this is not the first time I have met with Brigstowe and I also work on a number of other HIV related issues with THT and the BMA. I get slagged off a lot by people on this blog but to question my record on HIV or gay rights in general is really bizarre.

    Stephen’s office has recently contacted my team at the Council House for more information on the outcome, and I am sure will be responding formally in due course.

    Hope this sets the record straight!

    Best wishes

    Jon

    • February 11, 2011 8:21 pm

      Thanks Jon. Not much I can add, I wrote to the Council, sent the response to Brigstowe, went to meet Brigstowe staff and service users, raised it again with the Council and hopefully this contributed to the positive outcome. This ought to be a good news story…

  5. kenneth permalink
    February 11, 2011 11:04 pm

    I am disappointed that we are having this level of dialogue after BCC’s proposal to withdraw SP funding from The Brigstowe project.Before,would have been a deal more helpful.

    Thank you Stephen for your intervention and valuable contribution to the positive outcome.
    It is indeed a good news story.

    Mr Rogers thank you for your welcome positive intervention and action.

    I would like to comment further on MrRogers blog above; His statement that “You may think that it is only by seeking maximum publicity that progress can be made”Is I think wide of the mark.A tremendous amount of work and rationalisation was being undertaken simultaneously by the Brigstowe Project committee and the Project manager.

    We only have to look at current world events to understand the positive nature of publicity.It can be uncomfortable,it often occurs when people feel sidelined by their elected representatives.
    I understand it to be a part of our democratic process.Long may it remain so.
    Politicians and “celebrities” welcome,even seek maximum publicity.Regularly they get it when they do not seek it.Democracy in action again.It can be uncomfortable.
    I think the addage that “The devil triumphs when good men do nothing” is one that needs remembering.

    My final comment this evening is please remember that The Brigstowe Project is not otiose to the needs of people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS in Bristol.

    Kind regards.

    Kenneth

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  1. A Lib Dem round up for World AIDS Day 2010 « Liberal Democrats in Northern Ireland

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