Edinburgh Stop AIDS Society

by Beckie Marsland

By Tom Capon and the Student Stop AIDS Society

We’d like to introduce our society, which may be of interest to the University’s medical anthropologists. Student Stop AIDS Edinburgh is part of a national campaign to bring an end to the injustice of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We raise awareness through public engagement, and lobby governments and corporations with the aim of forcing strong action with regards to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. The society is an active and passionate group on campus with regular events and campaigns.

At the time of writing, a group of our members has just returned from the annual AGM, this year held in Sheffield, where campaigns and ideas were discussed for the year ahead in an inspired and lively atmosphere. The campaigns for this year include encouraging Johnson & Johnson to join the Patent Pool, which would enable affordable generic ARV drugs to be manufactured. Their entrance is crucial to the success of this initiative, yet they are stalling, putting profits above their social responsibilities. We also campaign to ensure that vital treatment and prevention programmes in the developing world are fully funded, and we support sexual health campaigns in the UK. To further these campaigns, we have been working on our political lobbying and our street campaigning skills, as well as building links with related groups.

Preparations also continue towards a week of events to mark World AIDS Day (1st December). An extensive presence on campus is to be expected! We will be screening Larry Clark’s controversial 1995 film ‘Kids’ at the Brass Monkey (27th November) and, not to be missed, our annual fundraiser, CabarAIDS, at Malone’s (29th November), where a wide variety of performers will put on a delightful evening of entertainment, all in the name of charity! This event has been hugely successful in the past and even won EUSA’s ‘Best Event’ Award last year!

Whilst the society has a serious mission, we are friendly, fun-loving and always open to new members. We imagine that our interest in global public health, intellectual property reform and global justice mirror many of the concerns of medical anthropologists at the University, and we’d love to hear from anyone who’d like to find out more. Our weekly meeting is at the Greenmantle, Thursdays, 7pm, and you can get in touch with us at edinburghstopaids@gmail.com