Driving towards zero new cases of HIV by 2025 in Brighton & Hove.
A Brighton & Hove Bus dedicated to Professor Martin Fisher, an international leader in the field of HIV research and patient care, was officially launched at Hove Lawns last month. The bus, which is devoted to achieving zero new cases of HIV by 2025 in Brighton & Hove and reducing stigma around the virus, is covered with purple Queen of the Night tulips, Martin’s favourite flower, while panels inside the bus give people the facts around HIV and aim to reduce the stigma and misinformation around the virus. They also talk about Martin’s life and work and recent advances in HIV treatment.
Martin, who built up the world-class Lawson Unit at the Royal Sussex Hospital, sadly died in 2015 and the Martin Fisher Foundation was set up soon afterwards to continue his excellent work campaigning to boost HIV testing and treatment rate, and educating people about the virus.
The launch brought together Martin’s family, including his father who said the bus “was beyond his wildest dreams”, Lawson Unit staff and other local HIV charities, as well as the charity’s patron Baroness Joyce Gould, Peter Kyle MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP and Brighton & Hove Bus colleagues. Lunch Positive, the weekly HIV+ lunch club, and the Co-Op supplied free refreshments.
Local artist, Dan Locke, talked about his design for the new bus as it toured the city and travelled to the Lawson Unit. Blue viruses feature at the rear of the bus, which become fewer and disappear towards the front, representing the city moving ‘Towards Zero’ new HIV cases by 2025.
Dr Gill Dean, Martin Fisher Foundation Trustee, said: “This bus will act as a catalyst for meaningful conversations around HIV and improve understanding of how stigma can be such an enormous burden for people living with HIV. Another aim of the bus is to spell out that HIV isn’t scary anymore. We’ve come a long way since the tombstones of the 1980s. Treatment is now well tolerated, safe and effective and, when it’s taken every day, means people can’t pass the virus on to anyone else.
“This is an incredible message that we can now strive to make sure everyone in the city knows about. This brilliant bus is going to do just that for anyone riding on it, travelling behind it, seeing it pass by or reading about it. Ending new HIV infections in Brighton & Hove is actually within our grasp. We can be the generation to achieve this and the bus will be part of it!”
Martin Harris, Brighton & Hove Buses’ Managing Director, said: “Martin’s legacy of compassion, patience and humour will not be forgotten, nor will the way he always fought for people who were HIV positive. The Martin Fisher bus will help carry on his good work, work that touched so many people’s lives.”
More info from the Martin Fisher Foundation website