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Margaret Thatcher rejected the HIV / AIDS awareness broadcast, but she wasn’t prejudiced

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Margaret Thatcher personally rejected television broadcasts aimed at raising awareness of HIV / AIDS, but not because she had prejudice or prejudice.

Norman Fowler said the number 10 and the Treasury did not consider the issue a priority, despite the increase in AIDS-related deaths recorded in the UK by the mid-1980s. ..

Sir Fowler, a health and social security secretary from 1981 to 1987, was a government official. “Assistance: Don’t die ignorant” campaign In 1986, however, the minister’s television broadcast was said to be out of the question.

Give evidence to Inquiry about infected blood At the Aldwych House in central London, Sir Fowler was particularly critical of the Treasury for refusing to provide additional funding to his department, especially for the recognition of HIV / AIDS.

He states: “The Treasury is not a business that actually spends more money, and if it can be reduced, it is not a social sector.

“Remember that most AIDS campaigns had to be done by ourselves from resources within the department. [of health and social security].. I didn’t get any extra money from the Treasury. The Treasury had a completely stone face, as far as everything went.

“They were completely relieved that No 10 and the Prime Minister didn’t adopt it as a priority either. If the Prime Minister adopted it as a priority, the situation would definitely have been a little different. , She wasn’t.

“I even remember it doesn’t cost much. I wanted to broadcast the minister on AIDS. NS [Ministerial Cabinet Committee on AIDS] Under Willie Whitelow, and all other ministers agreed, but it had to say so to the Prime Minister-usually the minister’s broadcast had to say so to the minister’s broadcast.

“She always took me to New Year’s Eve and said she wasn’t ready to empower me, so the minister’s statement wasn’t issued. [shadow health secretary] Michael Mecha agreed that he did not want a reply to his great achievement, so it was completely cut and dried, but rejected by number 10. That was exactly the position. “

Asked by Mrs. Thatcher’s prejudice or prejudice, Sir Fowler, the chief attorney for the investigation, Jenny Richards QC, said: I don’t know if she was affected by it. The Treasury uses every argument if it happens to reduce spending. “

Sir Fowler, now 83, said Mrs Thatcher told him in a 2017 documentary on the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in England and Wales. I have one for help. “

He also said Mrs Thatcher treated the issue “as a scientist, as she did.” In an excerpt from a diary from November 27, 1986, Sir Fowler writes that Mrs Thatcher “is asking a good question.” [about Aids] It shows a broad understanding of the disease and what to do to prevent it. “

The study examines how and why British men, women and children received infected blood products, with thousands infected with HIV, AIDS and hepatitis in the 1970s and 1980s. bottom. About 2,400 people have died.

Sir Fowler showed that the AIDS awareness campaign he launched was a huge success, with the percentage of people claiming to know something about AIDS doubled from 44% to 94% as a result. I quoted the result of. Researchers have concluded that the campaign “substantially achieved the goal of educating the general public and influencing the climate of opinion based on behavior change.”

On the second day of his evidence Sir Fowler answered the question that acknowledging AIDS would not only raise awareness but also reduce deaths, saying that the then President Ronald Reagan’s approach of “ignoring” the problem had devastating consequences. It pointed out.

He states: I spent most of my time interviewing and said that this wasn’t the purpose of what we were doing. For people infected with HIV, this might seem like a very difficult message, but it was never an inaccurate message. Well it could be your death, it was a problem. At the time, there really wasn’t an effective drug, so what would a wise government want to do?

“you Ronald Reagan Made in the United States-say nothing-and you had the most incredible fashion as a result, or you could try it head-on. And we probably took it head-on than any other country in Europe. As a result, we are estimated to have saved thousands of lives.

“There remained a top priority that we should respect and defend the position of people with HIV and AIDS and at the same time try to prevent their destiny from overtaking others. I continue to do that and I I will continue to do that as long as there is. “

The hearing will continue.

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