Mayor signs up to new HIV Confident Charter to tackle stigma and discrimination in London


City Hall becomes a founding member of ‘HIV Confident’, a new HIV anti-stigma charter led by National AIDS Trust, aidsmap, and Positively UK to tackle stigma and discrimination in the workplace. Fast Track Cities London is delighted to announce the new charter and a new HIV ambassador programme led by Terrence Higgins Trust today on World AIDS Day.

HIV Confident will work with the HIV sector to deliver an educational programme that will tackle stigma and discrimination in companies and frontline public services in London and the UK more broadly. The HIV Ambassadors are people living with HIV who act as role models and community representatives. They share their lived experience and personal perspective to a range of audiences and support the rollout and uptake of the HIV Confident Charter. The programmes will work together, making sure the lived experiences of people living with HIV are centred as member organisations strive to become HIV Confident.

HIV stigma continues to have a profound impact on people living with HIV and a lack of awareness contributes to that. Three in four people living with HIV have experienced discrimination or stigma due to their HIV status,[i] while only one in five people know that if someone’s on effective treatment, they can’t pass it on.[ii] HIV Confident will work with member organisations to make sure they are places people living with HIV can access with confidence that they will be respected. This is illuminated further by Pank Sethi’s firsthand experience below.

“A couple of months ago, I was in an A&E department and was being seen by the triage nurse. I informed her I was living with HIV and was on treatment. It was at that point that she decided to double-glove just to take my blood pressure. This was in 2023.

Being a HIV Ambassador allows me to use my story to help change the culture in organisations in the health and care sector, and beyond. I’m looking forward to working alongside organisations to create a culture that will provide people living with HIV with the confidence we need to access services without fear of stigma.”

As a founding member of this groundbreaking initiative, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has pledged his support.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “World AIDS Day is a time to remember and honour all those who have been lost to HIV/AIDS related illness, and to unite everyone in our ongoing battle against the virus and the stigma that too frequently comes with it.

“We have come a long way in addressing those taboos and City Hall is once again leading the way in tackling health inequalities by signing the HIV Confident charter.

“I am also proud that we are helping to fund the first permanent HIV/AIDS memorial in London. This powerful message of solidarity will help address the stigma and discrimination faced by many who live with HIV, as we work towards building a better, healthier, more equitable city for all Londoners.”