On Saturday 5th October we launched the Martin Fisher Foundation Bus at Hove Lawns, Brighton and Hove. This is the first ever HIV themed public information bus in the UK and possibly worldwide. Over 67 million people travel on the buses in a year in Brighton and Hove and they will get to read up to date information about HIV testing, treatment and prevention. It is hoped that this bus with help with the last push to get to ZERO new HIV cases by 2025 the goal of the Martin Fisher Foundation.
Brighton & Hove Buses, the city’s Martin Fisher Foundation and local illustrator Daniel Locke worked together to design and wrap a bus to encourage people to have an HIV test and get treatment if they need it, while tackling some of the myths and stigma that still surround HIV.
The panels inside the bus talk about Martin’s life, recent advances in HIV treatment and the Foundation’s campaign to boost HIV testing rates and decrease stigma. The bus is strewn with purple Queen of the Night tulips, Martin’s favourite flower.
The launch was attended by Martin’s family, Baroness Gould the charity’s patron, Martin Harris MD of the Brighton & Hove buses who commissioned this bus, local MPs, Peter Kyle and Russell Lloyd-Moyle, Trustees from the Martin Fisher Foundation, our friends at Lunch Positive, Sussex Beacon, Peer Action and The Terence Higgins Trust. We also thanks all our supporters who helped on the day including the Co-op who supplied free cakes and biscuits.
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!”
They say pictures speak louder than words so……