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Campaigners call for national AIDS memorial in London

2016-12-01

Campaigners are urging London mayor Sadiq Khan to consider creating a memorial in the capital to commemorate the lives lost to the Aids epidemic.

Ash Kotak created a petition which has already garnered almost 3,000 signatures, and has been supported by a number of HIV charities.

He tells Attitude that a memorial will enable people to not only mourn those lost to Aids, but also to celebrate the numerous groups and individuals who helped to ease the suffering of those in need at the height of the crisis.

"A living memorial will give a place of focus where past horrors, so many of us experienced, can be rightfully memorialised, where those who died will be remembered and where all those who were affected, including all the charity workers, the medical staff, the alternative therapists, the families, lovers and friends, may gain some closure.
"It can be viewed with much sadness of course but also we can look at how we responded to bring about such positive change. Future generations can learn from this with pride. Queer people exist and we have a history that resonates to this day." Kotak adds: "A memorial will make real a terrible tragedy that disproportionately hit gay men yet it also brought together many separate communities as one, who fought a common struggle. "There is something quite magnificent to have such huge experiences to be solidified in such an honourable way. It becomes very real, as does LGBTQ history." While Khan is yet to confirm any plans, his spokesman said: "The mayor believes it is important to commemorate and recognise causes fought by Londoners of all walks of life." Add your name to Ash's petition here.

To order a free self-sampling HIV kit go to www.test.hiv, and to find your nearest sexual health clinic visit nhs.uk.

For more information about World AIDS Day visit worldaidsday.org.

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