For this year’s Brighton and Hove Pride Festival we choose for our charity the theme of tackling HIV stigma and the message that U=U. This means that someone with an undetectable HIV viral load (meaning they are on effective treatment that has completely suppressed the virus) cannot transmit the virus to their partner. Undetectable = Untransmittable!
We walked and waved our U=U banners and members of the charity’s walking group reflected on their feelings about taking part in this year’s parade.
“Pride is a huge mixture of emotions. It gives us a captive audience of people to get our message across to. It’s a real opportunity, it’s our duty to participate. We owe it to ourselves, to our peers, to the people still suffering from the stigma around HIV and to those no longer with us.”
“For me the excitement is always tempered by the memories of my many friends who didn’t survive the epidemic. We have to stop this virus and the stigma that surrounds it and the damage it does to people.”
“Walking on behalf of the charity made me so proud. It brought back so many wonderful memories of Martin and how passionate he was about trying to change the stigma surrounding HIV. My granddaughters who walked with me absolutely loved it too. I hope in the years to come the stigma surrounding HIV will cease with this younger generation”
“Walking in the parade, led by the well-travelled Stiggy and carrying U=U banners whilst wearing white 70’s disco attire was the best way to spend a Saturday! Martin thrived on teamwork and to have seen ‘his team’ consisting of a cross section of staff, friends, charity supporters plus their children, grandchildren and even dogs would have made him extremely proud.”
“The scientifically proven U=U message is so important and a real breakthrough for us all. It has driven and motivated me to take every opportunity to talk to people about HIV and help break down the old stigma. Stigma should be left firmly in the past. For me the parade was about walking Proud and Standing tall!”
“Being part of the parade reminded me that there is a lot of support for LGBTQ+ in the general population, a reminder that it’s important to keep pushing the message that HIV testing is vital to ultimately obtaining U=U. I felt a sense of pride to be walking with the charity, to have that voice and help get our message out there.”
The Martin Fisher Foundation would like to thank everyone who took part in the parade for the charity and the people of Brighton and Hove for their support. You can follow the charity: