Countdown to Zero.
The Fight for Countdown to Zero
It’s time we stop ignoring the HIV problem amongst our Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups. The world is embarking on a fast-track goal to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, and we’re determined that the BAME communities will not be left behind in the fight to end all new HIV diagnoses.
The Countdown to Zero Fight is a campaign led by NAZ, a charity dedicated to delivering culturally-specific sexual health services to those historically left behind.
Our initiative is inspired by the UNAIDS 90-90-90 Treatment for all campaign, which seeks to ensure that:
- 90% of all people living with HIV will know that they are HIV positive.
- 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive treatment.
- 90% of all people receiving treatment will have viral suppression, meaning they will have an undetectable level of the HIV virus in their blood and be unable to infect others.
While BAME communities make up a significant number of those seeking HIV care and support, our community still remains largely unresponsive to awareness campaigns.
The health inequalities that exist for BAME communities in the UK is very damaging. Let’s look at some statistics:
- 8 out of 10 women accessing HIV care in the UK are from BAME communities[i]
- 58% of Black Africans were diagnosed at a late stage of HIV infection in 2017, compared to 43% of the overall population. People diagnosed late remain at high risk of death in the first year of diagnosis[ii]
- 40% of BAME people living with HIV sometimes or often go short of food, compared to 23% of non-BAME
Despite the free availability of medical care and treatment for people living with HIV in the UK, late HIV diagnosis continues to have an alarming impact on minority communities. Staff in the NHS are fantastic but we must take action now, so nobody is left behind: Key stakeholders (NHS, public health, local authorities and the government) also need to listen to BAME led organisations on how to engage our communities.
- 69% of Black African heterosexual men and 52% of Black African heterosexual women were diagnosed late with HIV in 2017.
- 43% of people newly diagnosed in 2017 were diagnosed at a late stage of HIV infection. Late diagnosis increases the risk of premature mortality among people with HIV.
NAZ set up Countdown to Zero to:
- Engage businesses that serve the BAME community, trusted cultural icons and thought leaders to eradicate the stigma associated with HIV
- Call on the government to increase resources and funds to BAME-led organisations to co-design and lead the initiatives to end HIV in our communities
We must work together to end all new HIV diagnoses by 2030. BAME groups are too often the last to be consulted about these issues and have been fighting alone for too long, but now is the time for change and we can only do this together.
We hope Countdown to Zero inspires others to take up this mantle and to help bring forward communities historically left behind.
This year we are proud to be partnering with Mildmay Hospital, a leading centre for late HIV medical and support services.
We believe everyone can get involved in this campaign and urge you to sign up to the declaration, to show your support.
 PHE National HIV Surveillance Data Tables (2018) https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hiv-annual-data-tables
 HIV testing in England: 2017 report. PHE (2017)
 The People Living with HIV Stigma Survey UK (2015).Black, Asian and minority ethnic participants
 Towards elimination of HIV transmission, late HIV diagnoses, AIDS and deaths. PHE (2017)
NAZ has over 28 years of experience working with minority communities. At the heart of our work is a passion to redress the sexual health inequalities minority communities currently face. We believe sexual health programmes and policies should be: culturally-specific, intersectional, and co -designed and delivered by people most impacted poor sexual health. The charity has been supported by national and global activists, including HRH Princess Tessy de Luxembourg, UNAIDS Global Advocate for Young Women and Girls; Hugh Quarshie; Patti Boulaye; Andy Slaughter, MP; and Swati Mandela.
For more information about NAZ
About Mildmay Hospital
Mildmay has been a charity for over one hundred and fifty years, specialising in HIV for over thirty, delivering quality care and treatment, prevention work, rehabilitation, training, education and health strengthening in the UK and East Africa.
Mildmay’s vision ‘Life in all its fullness for everyone in Mildmay’s care’ is at the heart of the charity and their mission ‘to transform and empower lives through the delivery of quality health services, treatment and care in the UK and Africa’ will shape the steps the organisation takes into the future.
For more information about Mildmay Hospital
Gilead Sciences is a research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative medicines in areas of unmet medical need. The company strives to transform and simplify care for people with life-threatening illnesses around the world. Gilead has operations in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.
For nearly 30 years, Gilead has been a leading innovator in the field of HIV, driving advances in treatment, prevention, testing and linkage to care, and cure research. Today, it’s estimated that more than 11.5 million people living with HIV globally receive antiretroviral therapy provided by Gilead or one of the company’s manufacturing partners.
For more information about Gilead
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Ten out of Ten is an awards ceremony, hosted at the House of Lords, to recognise the game-changing HIV activists whose fearless activism, bold organising strategies and organisational leadership provide a blueprint for the innovative action required to end all new HIV diagnoses by 2030.
This Is What We’re Fighting For celebrates the contributions of cultural icons lost to HIV. When the AIDS crisis swept through our communities, it took with it a generation’s worth of talent. The lives of dancers, musicians, sports stars and activists were cut short, and that loss reverberated through lives, past and present, that would be forever shaped by those losses. Tributes will be paid to (among others): Alvin Ailey, Gil Scot Heron, Prudence Nobantu Mabele, Mary Bowan and Arthur Ashe.