ACT UP is a diverse, non-partisan group of individuals, united in anger and committed to direct action to end the HIV pandemic.

Along with 375 other people and 44 organisations, I signed the letter composed by ACT UP London, an HIV activist group, which corrects inaccuracies in Nigel Farage’s claims during the televised leaders’ debate in the run up to the UK Parliamentary General Election.

During the leaders’ debate on 2 April, Mr Farage claimed: “Here’s a fact… there are 7,000 diagnoses in this country every year for people that are HIV positive… 60% of them are not British nationals.” He further stated treatment costs up to £25,000 per year per patient. Each of these claims is inaccurate, addressed by the letter with reference to the accurate statistics.

Mr Farage’s claims are wild, and scaremongering. They will divide our communities and further create stigma to people who are living with HIV. He should be ashamed of himself. As can be seen the opposition to his views is from many places including many other political parties. I am glad to see that Naomi Long who is standing for Parliament in Belfast East, having been the MP from 2010 until Parliament was dissolved earlier this year signed the letter. The text of the letter is below.

ACT UP London and we, the undersigned, are deeply concerned at the recent attempts made by Nigel Farage to spread misinformation about HIV for political ends. We call for the rights of people living with HIV to be respected and upheld, and for HIV treatment to be left out of the political fray.

We call for Mr Farage to apologise for his factually inaccurate, and stigmatising, comments.

During the leaders’ TV debate on 2nd April, Mr Farage claimed: “Here’s a fact…there are 7,000 diagnoses in this country every year for people that are HIV positive… 60% of them are not British nationals.” He further stated treatment costs up to £25,000 per year per patient.

Mr Farage is entitled to his own opinions, but he is not entitled to his own facts. Each claim is false.

Public Health England’s most recent figures show there were 6,000 people newly diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2013, a decrease on the 6,250 diagnoses in 2012. [1] The ‘7,000’ figure was last true in 2008, since then the number has been steadily declining.

The same figures show that 45% of people diagnosed with HIV in 2013 were born outside the UK, but the data does not tell us about the nationality of people diagnosed. It records only country of birth – being born outside the UK does not mean you are not a British national. [2]

The average cost of treatment per patient per year is approximately £6,000. [3]

Since an amendment to NHS Charging Regulations in 2012, HIV treatment has been available free to everyone in the UK who needs it, regardless of immigration status. This is because providing antiretroviral treatment for all people living with HIV greatly reduces HIV transmission, encourages earlier testing and health-promoting behaviours and keeps people living with HIV healthy, reducing additional healthcare costs. The Coalition government implemented this change because it saves money.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer, explained the decision to provide free HIV treatment: “Effective treatment of HIV reduces its spread by up to 96 per cent . . . offering NHS treatment will encourage testing, resulting in fewer undiagnosed HIV infections and therefore ensuring that there is less chance of passing on infection to the wider population.”[4]

Mr Farage claims that the UK’s policy on HIV treatment encourages so-called ‘health tourism’. There is no evidence to support this claim. The National AIDS Trust, in 2008, concluded there is no evidence that decisions to migrate to the UK are influenced by the desire to seek HIV treatment. This is further demonstrated by the significant average time lapse between arriving in the UK and seeking testing and subsequent treatment [5].

Some UK residents who are living with HIV are migrants. They are brought here by work, relationships, or education. Some are seeking asylum and fleeing persecution. They contribute to and are part of British society. Many came from countries that also offer HIV treatment and care. Many others acquired HIV in the UK, or were diagnosed long after arriving. Regardless, it is wrong to link HIV with immigration.

ACT UP London and we, the undersigned, are concerned that Mr Farage’s attempts to link HIV with his policy on immigration, encourage further stigma and discrimination of all who are living with HIV, as well as migrants.

We believe in respect and dignity towards people of every type – including people living with HIV wherever they were born. We believe that a society which provides healthcare to those that need it, without discrimination, and protects the rights of people living with HIV, is a better society for us all to live in.

We, the undersigned, are committed to building an inclusive movement to take action to challenge discrimination and stigma, and to protect everyone living with HIV.

  1. Public Health England (2014). HIV in the United Kingdom: 2014 Report.
  3. House of Lords Select Committee on HIV and AIDS (2011), No vaccine, no cure: HIV and AIDS in the United Kingdom
  4. Quoted in
  5. National AIDS Trust (2008), The Myth of HIV Health Tourism


Party leaders

Leanne Wood AM, on behalf of Plaid Cymru

Natalie Bennett, the Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales

Nicola Sturgeon, Leader of the Scottish National Party and First Minister of Scotland

Willie Rennie MSP, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats

Naomi Long, Deputy Leader of the Alliance Party and Parliamentary Candidate for Belfast East


Organisations (44)

ACT UP London, African Health Policy Network, Aids Orphan, Alliance Party, BASELINE Magazine, Bloomsbury Patients Network, Body & Soul, Catholics for AIDS Prevention and Support, Chasing Zero, Diocese of Norwich, FoTAC-UK, FPA (Family Planning Association), Gay’s the Word Bookshop, George House Trust, HIV i-Base, HIV Justice Network, ImpAcTAIDS, International HIV Partnerships, International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Liberal democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary (LD4SOS), Maternity Action, NAZ, Plan UK, Positively UK, Pride in Plymouth, Rhondda Cynon Taff Welsh Liberal Democrats, Salamander Trust, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Skipton and Ripon Liberal Democrats, Sophia Forum, South East London People’s Assembly (SELPA), South East London Stand Up to UKIP, Space Station Sixty-Five gallery, Terrence Higgins Trust, The Sophia Forum, STOPAIDS, The White Rabbits, Theatre for a Change, UK-CAB, UKSTIGMAINDEX 2015, Unite The Union, Unity Group Wales,

WECARe plus,


All individual signatories (376)

A D Nelson, Abigail Kingston

Adam Ismael Lotun Disability Risk Management Consultant, Workplace Disability Adjustments

Adam Monks IT Consultant, Smartdesc

Adam Wilkinson Regional manager Terrence Higgins Trust

Adrian Hyyrylainen – Trett Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Vauxhall   Vice President of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats

Adrian Maguire

Aidan Harper

Alastair Hudson Country Coordinator, STIGMAINDEXUK

Alderman Peter Tyzack Member, Liberal Democrats

Alexander Fairgrieve Bar man, hotel

Alexander Lee Houlton

Ali Simpson Corporate Fundraising Manager, Terrence Higgins Trust

Alice Fay

Alison Brelsford

Alison Elizabeth Jenner Liberal Democrat activist

Allan Anderson Chief Executive, Positively UK

Amanda Bryden HIV nurse, WSHT

Amanda Mammadova

Amanda Orr

Amani Mohammad Mustafa

Amar Shabandar Campaign officer,  SOAS LGBTQIA + SOCIETY

Amy Dalrymple Director, Centre for Scottish Public Policy

Andie Dyer Marketing, Terrence Higgins Trust

Andreas Arany-Toth

Andrew Brown

Andrew Davies CEO, Unity Group Wales

Andrew Edworthy

Andrew Feinstein Author, former ANC MP

Andrew Feinstein Chair, FoTAC-UK

Andrew Heard Broadcasting, BBC Wales

Andrew Heffernan

Andrew McFarland Campbell Founder, Faith and Pride

Andy Brown

Andy Turner Health Promotion Officer – Terrence Higgins Trust

Angelina Namiba Project Manager, Positively UK

Ann Grant

Ann Noon Media manager for the International HIV/AIDS Alliance

Anna Beria

Anthony Fairclough Vice Chair, London Region Liberal Democrats

Aoife Nic Charthaigh Policy Manager: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Plan UK

Arlene Finnigan

Aurora Bellingham

Ben Collins Director, International HIV Partnerships. ReShape steering committee member

Ben Simms Director, STOPAIDS

Ben Spencer

Ben Watson Advice Worker  Terrence Higgins Trust

Berenice Jasper

Bernard Forbes

Beverley J Careless Support services co-ordinator, Terrence Higgins Trust

Blair Kelly Lecturer

Bronwen Staff Nurse

Bryony McFarland

Cal Strode

Carl Sykes

Carly Stewart LGBT+ Officer for Trinity St David students union Swansea 2013-2015. NUS Wales lgbt+ officer 2015-2016. Unity Group Wales Youth Representative

Caroline Lucas Brighton Pavilion, Green Party

Caroline Sorbier Head of Casework and Advocacy Services at Body & Soul

Carolyn Blake Public Health Specialist, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

Caron Lindsay Editor, Liberal Democrat Voice

Catherine Maguire

Ceri Deane Richardson Secretary & Volunteer Counsellor, LGBT Cymru Helpline & Counselling Services

Charlene Greaves Research and Communications Officer, Terrence Higgins Trust

Cheryl Watkins

Chris Lines Publications Officer

Chrissy Sakala Volunteer, George House Trust

Christina Talbot

Christopher Aitchispm

Christopher Hawtree Green Party, Parliamentary Candidate for Hove and Portslade 2015

Clark McAuley

Cllr James Barber Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate, Dulwich & West Norwood

Councillor Alaric Rose Liberal Democrat Councillor for Kidlington North, Cherwell District Council

Councillor Joe Otten Liberal Democrat councillor and PPC, Sheffield.

Councillor Katie Hall Liberal Democrat councillor for Lyncombe ward, Bath & North East Somerset signing in personal capacity

Councillor Michael John Powell Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Councillor and PPC for Pontypridd

Dada Schling Activist – ACT UP, Beyond UKIP Cabaret

Daisy Ellis Head of Policy, Terrence Higgins Trust

Dan Farthing-Sykes Scottish Liberal Democrat Candidate for Edinburgh South West

Dani Anderson

Daniel Suzuki Co-Owner of LGBT group, LGBT+ Youth Pembrokeshire

Danny West Training and leadership consultant

Dave Page Chair, LGBT+ Liberal Democrats

David de Croy HIV Advocate

David Deakin Head of HIV, Tearfund, Operations Director, Chasing Zero

David Grace Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, Clacton Constituency

David Ogden HIV Specialist Pharmacist

Davy Jones Green Party parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown

Diane Stallwood Clinical Nurse Specialist-HIV, Homerton University Hospital

Dionne Daniel Nurse Manager

Dominic Simon Berry

Dr Alice Welbourn Founding Director, Salamander Trust

Dr Anna Peters freelancer

Dr Astrid Schepers Clinical Psychologist

Dr David Asboe Chair, British HIV Association

Dr Gareth Hardy HIV Research Scientist, Imperial College London

Dr Jill Lewis Gender-focused HIV awareness and prevention trainer since 1986

Dr Johanna Jefferies Public Health Registrar

Dr John Anthony Keith Davies Retired NHS Consultant

Dr Jose Bastos Consultant Anaesthetist  GMC, Barts Health NHS Trust, London

Dr Martin Tsang Professor

Dr Maurice Nagington Lecturer – University of Manchester

Dr Peter Richard Brooks Parliamentary Candidate

Dr Rosemary Gillespie Chief Executive, Terrence Higgins Trust

Dr Shema Tariq Research Fellow (UCL) and Honorary Consultant HIV Physician, Mortimer Market Centre

Dr Sinead Cook Doctor in sexual and reproductive health, NHS

Dr Turhan Ozen Parliamentary Candidate for Tottenham

Duncan McDonald

Dusan Jovovic

Ed Gonçalves Liberal Democrat candidate, Rugby constituency

Edward John Sammon

Edwin J Bernard Co-ordinator, HIV Justice Network

Elizabeth Needham Local Council Candidate – Liberal Democrats

Emily Walker Disabilities Officer, SOAS (University of London) LGBTQIA+ Society

Emma-Jayne Colette Sandrey Liberal Democrat member

Erendira Fortanel Herrera Region HR, Oxfam

Euan Cameron

Felicity Thorley

Fernando Karl Louis Alexei Gustave De Araujo LaSalles-North Member of Liberal Democrats.

Fernando Mariano ACT UP Member

Fiona Callison

Frances Alicia Grace Freeman Filmmaker

Frances Bernstein

Frances McManus

Francesca D’Emidio Programme manager

Francesco Leto

Fraser Wilson Internal Communications Officer

Fred Mann Art Dealer, New Art Projects

Gaia Marcus

Garry Brough Chair of the Bloomsbury Patients Network

Garth Richards

Gary Fuller Liberal Democrat Member

Gary Hammond

Gemma Roulston

Gill Kennett

Ginger Drage

Graham Eaton

Graham Kirkwood

Greg Baker

Hannah Bodek Executive Director of Finance, Terrence Higgins Trust

Harriet Palmer

Helen Beecher Bryant Head of Operations, Maternity Action

Helen rogers Str8talk meeting facilitator, Positively UK

Hilary Rosser Midwife  Royal College of Midwives

Holly Matthies

Hywel Owen Davies Freelance Activist

Ian Eiloart

Ian Fincher

Ian J Govendir CEO, Aids Orphan UK Trust


Jackie Kennedy Executice Director of Services, Terrence Higgins Trust

Jacqueline Dianne Bell Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate – Skipton and Ripon

Jacqui Stevenson Activist, PhD Researcher

James Basion

James Johnson Community Engagement: Terrence Higgins Trust

Jamie Reid

Jane Calvert

Jane Currie

Jane Phillips Former Deputy Editor Baseline

Jane Sellers

Janet King Local councillor and council member of LD4SOS

Jasmine Schulkind Medical student and ACT-UP supporter

Jayce Carberry

Jean Latham

Jenna Samji

Jennie Rigg Chair, Calderdale Liberal Democrats  Exec member, LGBT+ Lib Dems

Jennifer Dennis

Jeremy Goldstein Creative Producer, London Artists Projects Ltd

Jessica Ivonne Cabassa Santos

Jill Hellings Team manager, Barnardo’s Gregory’s Place project

Jim MacSweeney Manager, Gay’s the Word Bookshop

Jo Josh Member of UKCAB Steering Group, Body & Soul, CUHRRC

Jo Louise Astor Director, MKPride CIC

Joanna De Guia

Joanna Rushton

John Baker

John Carchrie Campbell Editor, HIVBlogger

John Felton

John O’Callaghan-Williamson Director

John Roberts

John Roche Support worker – charity

Johnathon Gallagher Health Promotion Specialist, Terrence Higgins Trust

Johnny Deluxe Activist, international rebel alliance

Jolan Carole Sulinski

Jon Ball Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate, Ealing Central & Acton

Jonathan Heyd-Smith

Jordan Harris

Jordan Hawkins

Josef Schumacher

Josefeen Foxter Specialist midwife in the NHS

Joy Park MBE

Judy Willis Nurse. Retired

Julia Glenn Liberal Democrat party member

Julie Meireles Nurse

Juliet McNelly Policy and Research Assistant/ Community practitioner  and supporter of ACT UP London

Justin Harbottle Programme Officer

Kampamba Chomba Positively UK, Terrence Higgins Trust- Member. Operation Hope- Founder

Karen Roberts Chair, Rhondda Cynon Taff Welsh Liberal Democrats

Kat Smithson

Kate Bailey Support Worker, Scottish Assoc for Mental Health

Kathrine Morris Social Policy Consultant

Kathy Trevelyan Actor

Katy McDermott

Keith Winestein

Kelvin Hayfield

Kenneth Shepherd

Keran James

Kerstin Åkerfeldt

Kevin Ditcham Health Promotion Specialist, Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland

Kevin Farmer Tutor

Kieran Aldred Campaigns and Parliamentary Officer, Terrence Higgins Trust

Kim Mulji

Kim Pugh

Laura Micheal UK-CAB member

Laura Smales

Lauren Rowe

Leanne Wood AM on behalf of Plaid Cymru

Lee Dargue Campaigner on LGBT rights and Mental Health for the Liberal Democrats:  Exec member – LGBT+LibDems  Chair – LibDem Mental Health Association

Lee Kennedy

Lee Pattimore

Lisa Portway

Louis Clarke Student

Luca Bartozzi

Luca Modesti President of an association for social advancement

Lucy Kaufman

Lucy W

Luisa Orza Programmes Director, ATHENA Network

Lynda Shentall Co Chair, Sophia Forum

Lynette Keleher

Marc Tonti

Margaret Dewhurst  Branch Chair

Margaret Maguire

Margherita Rondina

Mark Ayres Director, Pride in Plymouth

Mark King

Mark Pack Member, Liberal Democrat Federal Policy Committee

Mark Platt Personal

Marlene Soulier Student at SOAS

Martin Veart PPC for Edinburgh North & Leith

Mary McGrath Teacher

Mateusz Czekaj Teacher

Matt Nicholls Supporter

Matt Williams

Matthew Bentham Student, University of Bath

Matthew Geoffrey Doye

Matthew Hodson

Matthew Keogh

Maureen Ndawana Community Engagement Officer, African Health Policy Network

Mel Painter

Melanie Faith Ndzinga

Michael Casey

Michael Dunne Liberal Democrats Candidate for Liverpool’s Riverside Ward.

Michael Frank Willis Member of St Frideswide’s Church, Bletchley,  Milton Keynes

Michael Green Parliamentary candidate, Hertford & Stortford, Liberal Democrats

Michael Kielthy NHS Nurse

Mog Wilde

Naomi Long Deputy Leader of the Alliance Party and Parliamentary Candidate for Belfast East

Natalie Bennett Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales

Natalie Sleigh Special Events Coordinator, Terrence Higgins Trust

Natasha Nkonde Campaigns Officer

Natika H Halil Chief Executive, Senior Manager, FPA (Family Planning Association): sexual health charity

Neal Brown

Neil Young

Nick Keeble

Nicky Alam

Nicola Sturgeon Leader of the Scottish National Party and First Minister of Scotland

Nigel Taylor International Development Consultant

Olivia Ouwehand Welfare Officer, SOAS LGBTQ+ Society

Oonagh O’Brien Lecturer, Institute for International Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

Owen Blacker

Paola Hayward

Pat McCusker Community Development Worker – Yorkshire MESMAC

Patricia Ann Brown

Patrick Young Executive Director, Theatre for a Change

Paul Childs Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Liverpool Riverside

Paul Clift

Paul Fuller Underwriter, Insurance

Paul Robert Walter

Peter Geubels HIV Patient champion, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital Trust

Peter J Davies

Peter James Robinson

Philip Davis

Philip Ronald Latham Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Blyth Valley

Philippe Bruyer

Philippe Bruyer

Phillip Harvey Volunteer at Terrence Higgins Trust

Professor Kholoud Porter Professor of Epidemiology, University College London

Professor Susan Bewley Professor of Complex Obstetrics, Kings College London

R Chohan Secondary teacher

Rachael House Gallery Director, Space Station Sixty-Five, gallery

Rebecca Knecht Bi/Pan/Asexual Officer of the LGBTQIA+ Society at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), London

Rebecca Mbewe Caseworker, Positively UK

Rebekah Webb Freelance consultant

Rev Sheila Foreman Supernumerary Methodist Minister

Rev Simon Wilson Public Preacher

Rev Susan Brewer Church of England minister

Rev Tristan Alexander-Watts Healthcare Chaplain, NHS

Rev’d Gareth Kingston Dyer Minister of Uffculme Baptist Church

Revd Heather Leake Date Consultant Pharmacist, BSUH NHS Trust, HIVPA Expert Panel member and HIV Chaplain

Revd Kes Grant

Reverend Judith Ann Evans Vicar St Alban the Martyr Northampton  Church of England

Rhodri Yorath

Ricardo Tavares Magalhaes LGBT Activist

Riccardo D’Emidio

Richard Cooper

Richard Watkins

Ricky Gellissen

Rob Hammond Psychotherapist

Robert Adamson Parliamentary Candidate (Liberal Democrats) East Yorkshire

Robert Fieldhouse Editor, BASELINE magazine

Robert Knight Unite Equality Rep

Robert Sayer Retired

Robert Sherrard

Rohit K Dasgupta Lecturer in Global Media, Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton

Roshan Verghese

Ross Boseley Health Promotion coordinator, Terrence Higgins Trust

Roy Trevelion HIV treatment advocate

Russell Cutler

Russell Derek Withers

Ruth Perkins

Ryan Shearan Entertainer/Singer

S Taylor Marketing

Sally Golding

Sally Randle

Saloni Gupta Software Engineer, Infosys

Sam Thorley

Samantha Dawson Support worker   Peer mentor

Samantha Jackson Recruitment & Payroll Advisor for THT

Sandra Nakigagga

Sara Care

Sarah Anneliese Ivy Fuhrmann Support Services & Advice Manager – HIV & Hepatitis Action Wales, Terrence Higgins Trust Cymru

Sarah Brown Executive member, LGBT+ Liberal Democrats

Sarah Charis Hart

Sarah Gosling

Sarah Lewis

Sarah Louise Brown LGBT+ Lib dems exec.

Sarah Louise Woolley

Sarah Noble Executive Committee Member, LGBT+ Liberal Democrats

Sarah Radcliffe

Scott Durairaj

Scott Emery

Sean McGovern Activitst, ACT UP

Silvia Petretti Chair, UK-CAB

Simon Collins Advocate, at HIV i-Base

Simon Wright

Sophie Perry

Sophie Strachan Trustee, The Sophia Forum

Spike Rhodes

Steffeny Louise McGiffen

Stephen Gilbert MP for St Austell & Newquay 2010-2015, Liberal Democrats

Stephen Glenn Liberal Democrat Candidate for Sedgefield

Steve Craftman

Steve Dunt

Susan Harrington Student worker, the Methodist Church

Suzanne Fletcher Chair, Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary

Sylvia Ferreira   Member of South East London People’s Assembly

Tadeusz Cywinski

Tanya Rosemeyer

Teal Fraser

Theodore Gordon

Thierry Schaffauser Sex Worker

Tim Aldcroft

Tim Morrison

Tim Schuler

Tom Bishop Editorial and Production Manager, Terrence Higgins Trust

Tomos Michael Rogers

Tremaine Cornish

Trevor Banthorpe

Trevor Stables Liberal Democrat

Victoria Morris London Operations Manager for Long Term Condition Management at Terrence Higgins Trust

Victoria Roffi

Vincent Manning Chairperson, Catholics for AIDS Prevention and Support

Wendy Kasanga Children and Families Practitioner, Terrence Higgins Trust

Wezi Thamm Activist

Willie Rennie MSP Leader, Scottish Liberal Democrats

Willie Wilson Scottish Liberal Democrats

Winnie Ssanyu Sseruma Project Coordinator 1000women, NAZ

Zoe O’Connell Secretary, LGBT+ Liberal Democrats  LibDem Parliamentary Candidate for Maldon