December 1 marked World AIDS Day 2019 – a day for the world to unite in the fight against HIV and Aids.
Over 100,000 people in the UK alone are currently living with HIV, while globally the number is estimated to be at 37.5 million.
A common way to show solidarity and respect on World Aids Day is to wear a red ribbon. In a video released by the National Aids Trust, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised he was going to do just that.
This World Aids Day, I’m going to be wearing my red ribbon. Let’s all do so, and say to people and families affected by HIV and Aids: you are not alone.
But it didn’t take long for this commitment to waver.
Appearing on The Andrew Marr Show 24 hours after the video was posted, Johnson wasn’t wearing a red World Aids Day ribbon. Labour politician Shami Chakrabarti, who also appeared on the show, was wearing one.
Johnson has also not confirmed whether his government will support making PrEP – the only medication proven to prevent the spread of HIV – available on the NHS in England. The drug is already available in Scotland and Wales, but places on NHS England's trial of the drug keep running out.
In October, the BBC reported that 15 men had been diagnosed with HIV while on the PrEP waiting list. Labour has committed to providing the drug on the NHS.
At the seven-way ITV debate, between representatives from the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Brexit Party, many politicians wore red ribbons.
But Nigel Farage was the only person not to wear one.
Given Farage's past comments on immigrants with HIV, his absent ribbon is hardly surprising. But it seems that, as well as Brexit, a lack of visible solidarity with people with HIV is something he and Boris Johnson have in common.
H/T: The National