Marchers for Terrence Higgins Trust

A march, rally and vigil is taking place on the streets of central London on Saturday 18 March to raise awareness of the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV.

The march starts close to St Thomas’s Hospital where Terry Higgins became the first named person to die of an AIDS-related illness 40 years ago. Now, our charity established in his name is taking to the streets alongside thousands of others to tackle the abhorrent stigma surrounding HIV that still hasn’t shifted since the 1980s.


Help fight HIV stigma


Our recent survey of people living with HIV shows alarming levels of stigma faced by people across the UK, with nearly three quarters of those surveyed (74%) reporting they’ve experienced stigma or discrimination due to their HIV status.

The data also revealed that over half of people living with HIV had experienced discrimination in dating and relationships (62%), sex (61%) and in accessing healthcare (59%).

The Government has pledged to end new HIV cases in the UK by 2030, but stigma, discrimination and out dated views about HIV remain a significant barrier in achieving this goal.

That’s why more than 20 organisations are taking to the streets of London to march against HIV stigma, including LGBT Foundation, African Health Policy Network and Mildmay Mission Hospital. The march is followed by a vigil to remember the millions lost globally to the HIV epidemic and a rally packed with speakers to galvanise action to tackle stigma and discrimination.

Fighting HIV Stigma and Proud - March, Vigil, Rally, Saturday 18 March 2023 London

The day is part of a year’s worth of activity to celebrate the incredible legacy of Terry Higgins and the charity set up is his name by his partner, Dr Rupert Whitaker OBE, and close friend, Martyn Butler OBE.

'We’ve made huge medical strides in the fight against HIV, but not in the stigma,' says our Chief Executive Richard Angell.

'Despite this remarkable progress, we know that the lives of people living with HIV continue to be negatively impacted by stigma, including their mental health, employment and relationships. That is absolutely unacceptable and why we’re taking to the streets of London to fight HIV stigma loudly, proudly and visibly.

'We’re doing everything we can to reach the Government’s goal of ending new HIV cases by 2030. But HIV-related stigma and discrimination stands in the way of that goal. It means people are still too scared to get tested and some diagnoses people stop taking their medication. We must do everything we can to tackle stigma and outdated views of HIV – in this we must not fail.'

Everyone is welcome and those wanting to march should gather at Forum Magnum Square (SE1 7GN) in London from midday on Saturday 18 March, with the march beginning at 1pm. The route goes across Westminster Bridge, past Downing Street and finishes at Trafalgar Square where there is the vigil and rally.

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Confirmed speakers so far include Michelle Bockor from PositivelyUK, Ese Johnson from Waverley Care, Harun Tulunay from Positively UK, Rev Ije Ajibade from Southwark Cathedral, DR Claire Dewsnap from the British Association of Sexual Health & HIV, Prof Yvonne Gilleece from British HIV Association, Richard Angell from Terrence Higgins Trust, Nathaniel Hall, Rebecca Mbewe and Flick Thorley.