The British HIV Association (BHIVA), Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and Terrence Higgins Trust have partnered with ITN Industry News to co-produce a unique programme raising awareness for HIV, exploring current testing and treatment, and looking at what the future of HIV may look like.
The first AIDS related death was recorded in the UK 40 years ago. In 1981, little was known about AIDS. All that was certain was that contracting HIV would result in death. Today, a patient diagnosed with HIV has the same life expectancy as anyone else.
Anchored by ITN Productions presenter Belle Dontai, the programme follows a news-style format featuring a combination of key sector interviews, independent news items, and a collection of inspirational editorial profiles led by ITN Productions news reporters filmed around the world.
Terrence Higgins Trust was founded in memory of Terry Higgins, one of the very first in the UK to die of an AIDS-related illness. The British HIV Association is the leading UK association representing professionals in HIV care and is committed to providing excellent care for people living with and affected by HIV. The Elton John AIDS Foundation supports HIV testing and care and tackles stigma and discrimination against AIDS for the most vulnerable communities globally. A special news item from the programme spotlights the work of these three organisations, exploring their thoughts on HIV, how treatment has developed in the last 40 years, and how they are helping to end the epidemic.
The government has committed to a target of zero HIV transmissions by 2030, a goal which Elton John AIDS Foundation are determined to achieve. In a second news item from the programme, CEO of EJAF Anne Aslett discusses plans to provide more patients with care and change attitudes to testing through the world’s first Zero HIV Social Impact Bond programme.
“What we realised was that the thing that made the biggest difference was instead of exceptionally saying ‘I want to test you for HIV’, which given the stigma, people go ‘really, what kind of assumption are you making about me?’ If you say, ‘we test everyone for HIV because this is a high prevalence borough’, the difference in uptake of testing is massive.”
ITN Productions reporter Sharon Thomas reports on how organisations such as the G20 Health and Development Partnership are addressing the epidemic on a global scale, showcasing the disparities for patients globally who face healthcare inequalities.
Pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences supports an innovative approach to sexual health education. HIV at 40 spotlights the important work the company have done to help prevent infection in girls in South Africa, a country whose HIV epidemic is the largest in the world due to poverty and lack of education.
In a studio interview, Belle Dontai talks to Greg Perry, Assistant Director General of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA). Greg shares the success of HIV treatment in the UK and addresses the need for the development of future treatments.
“The reason we don’t have a vaccine for HIV at the moment is not because of no intent by the industry, investment or wish it’s because it’s an extremely complicated virus to deal with.”
The programme reports on how companies such as M.A.C have contributed to making a difference. ITN News Productions reporter William Denselow highlights how VIVA GLAM Fund has raised over $500 million for causes such as HIV and AIDS through the sales of its lipsticks.
Patients of any disease or illness should have options on which course of treatment they would like to take. Biopharmaceutical company Thera Technologies understands the importance of patient’s choice and is working on new treatments to provide new options for patients.
World AIDS Day is dedicated to raising awareness of AIDS and reducing the stigma associated with those who contract HIV. The programme explores a campaign launched by ViiV Healthcare, which aims to dismantle outdated perceptions, reduce homophobia, and portray the current reality of living with HIV.
Nina Harrison-Bell, Head of ITN Productions Industry News said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of HIV at 40 in partnership with BHIVA, EJAF and THT. We hope the programme reminds the public and the government that both HIV, and the stigma surrounding HIV, have not gone away and that there is still a vital need to invest in essential transformative research, treatment, prevention education and so much more.”