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Bus dedicated to no new HIV cases in Brighton & Hove by 2025 launches

3 months ago Wed 9th Oct 2019

A bus devoted to achieving zero new cases of HIV by 2025 in Brighton & Hove and reducing stigma around the virus was officially launched at Hove Lawns on Saturday (5 October).

Our bus is dedicated to Professor Martin Fisher, an outstanding international leader in the field of HIV research and patient care, who built up the world-class Lawson Unit at the Royal Sussex Hospital.

Martin 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 bus 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.

The bus launch brought together Martin’s family, 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 and the Co-Op supplied free refreshments.

Local artist Dan Locke talked about his design for the new bus as the bus 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.

Martin Fisher Foundation Trustee Dr Gill Dean 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!”

Our Managing Director Martin Harris 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.”

Martin’s father Chris Fisher, said the bus “was beyond his wildest dreams”.

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