MP Julian Smith lends support to Aids campaign

Craven Herald: Julian Smith  and Ben Simms of STOPAIDS Julian Smith and Ben Simms of STOPAIDS

Skipton MP Julian Smith joined with UK, international and student activists at a Parliamentary event to mark the 25th World AIDS Day.

He welcomed the UK’s pledge of £1 billion to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, ahead of a major world conference in Washington on the issue.

The event, organised by the group STOPAIDS, coincided with the launch of the Department for International Development’s review of its 2011 position paper Towards Zero Infections.

Mr Smith spoke with activists about the progress made in tackling the AIDS epidemic, with 9.7 million people now accessing treatment, and AIDS-related deaths declining from a peak of 2.2 million in the mid 2000s to 1.6 million in 2012.

But he also heard there was more to do with 16 million people still not accessing anti-retroviral treatment and 1.6 million people dying of AIDS-related illnesses in 2012.

Mr Smith said: “The UK’s pledge of £1 billion to the Global Fund is something we should be proud of and I encourage other countries to join the commitment of this country to bringing this terrible disease under control.”

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