Must Have Been Ill

Posted: 30.11.06 in Blogging

This is the message I had sent round to everyone in the School of Mathematics and Statistics:

Hi all,As you might already know, it's World AIDS Day this Friday. The Stop AIDS Society has laid on a few events to help raise awareness of this largely ignored fact. These events are described later in this email, but you might like to know how AIDS might affect you first. If this is the case, read on!

In the UK, most new cases of HIV transmission are now attributed to heterosexual sex, followed by homosexual sex and needle-sharing. Of those caused by heterosexual sex, more than half are known to have been acquired abroad. However, the rest isn't.

About a third of those in Britain that have HIV do not yet know they have it. Particularly in the early stages of HIV infection, the symptoms are not obvious. In Newcastle, about two thirds of those recommended for a HIV test in GUM clinics turn it down. I find that alarming. If you do too, then you might feel a little more inclined to protect yourself. There are two main ways in which you could do this.

The first is obvious and easy – “protect yourself”. However, it is surprising how often this advice goes unheeded. So the alternative is to help stop the spread of the virus. There are a number of small ways you can do this.

The Student Stop AIDS Campaign is currently campaigning to have trade laws amended so that countries can produce life-saving treatments more cheaply so that more can have access to these drugs. At the moment, there are too many obstacles for a country fighting an AIDS epidemic to produce cheap medication for those that need it. The result is that HIV is spreading worldwide, even in your own back yard.

So I would greatly appreciate if you could show us your support on World AIDS Day. Please wear red this Friday — even if this is the only way you can contribute to the cause, it makes others think. You could also write to your local MP. A standard letter is available at . There are also our own special events:

  • The Balloon Race – For the fee of £1 you can enter The Balloon Race. A prize will be awarded for the tag that has travelled the furthest to get back! If you are interested in entering, email me at and I will get in touch with you. Everyone is free to come and watch the balloons being released from outside the Union Society building at 1.30pm on Friday.
  • Drink Against AIDS – Newcastle' Stop AIDS and UNICEF societies are holding a joint event at the Sports Café near Central Station. Dubbed as the "Alternative Stan Calvert Cup", teams from Newcastle and Northumbria sports teams will be competing for a trophy. You can also bid for these teams in a slave auction. For more information on tickets and other details please visit

Although raising money for the two charities involved – an international charity working mainly with children and a local charity working with those affected by HIV and AIDS in Newcastle – raising awareness is the spirit of the day. You might be surprised at how little others know about HIV and AIDS. So please visit for information on HIV and AIDS, links to useful websites, and what the society is doing.

Hope to see you all in red on Friday,Steve Broughton

I really don’t think I made a good job of that at all. I had a plan of trying to make HIV and AIDS relevant to my peers, but I reckon I completely buggered that up. Scott was certainly critical of the letter – he felt it was a little patronising and some parts were just… odd. I think he’s right. However, I find it a little hard not to be patronising since most seem to ignore the problem, thinking that it isn’t relevant to them, and this annoys me. I hope the email does something, but I fear it doesn’t. I should have just told them about the events…

  1. weiran says:

    Tell Scott to fuck off and write his own damn letter.

  2. wl says:

    I don’t have anything red at the moment, so apologize for not cooperating. But at least from now on I will definitely remember that December 1 is the World AIDS Day. As to the letter, whatever people say, at least you’ve used this chance to say something you want rather than just ‘when, where and how much for the drink event’. I think it’s great.

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