GMG will be running a poll amongst members to vote for the GMG Person or Group of the Year.

This is an individual or group that has directly benefited HIV people by challenging stigma, promoting awareness or achieved significant advancements in medical treatment.

The poll will be sent out around mid-November and the winner will be announced just before Christmas.

The winner will be contacted via email and may be invited to speak at one of our meetings in 2020.

Elton John (Elton John Aids Foundation)

© 2019. Elton John AIDS Foundation

The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) is a nonprofit organization, established by rock musician Sir Elton John – in 1992 in the United States and 1993 in the United Kingdom – to support innovative HIV prevention, education programs, direct care and support services to people living with HIV.

It has raised over $400 million to support HIV related programs in fifty-five countries.

The organisation supports its work through proceeds from special events, cause-related marketing projects, and voluntary contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations. The foundation’s U.S. and U.K. branches work separately. Each focuses on different regions of the world; as a result, the organization is able to reach a broader scope of the world.

The U.S. branch works in the Americas and the Caribbean, while the U.K. branch focuses on Europe, Asia and Africa.

Gareth Thomas (Coming out as HIV+)

Image: UK Home Office. Derivative work: Tsange

Gareth Thomas is a Welsh former professional rugby footballer, who represented Wales in both rugby union and rugby league. With 100 test match appearances he was the most capped Welsh rugby union player until he was overtaken by Stephen Jones in September 2011. He is currently ranked 13th among international try scorers, and is the second highest Wales try scorer behind Shane Williams. He also won 4 rugby league caps for Wales, scoring 3 tries.

In September 2019, he revealed he is HIV positive, saying he wants to “break the stigma” around the condition.

He said he wants to show how people with HIV are misrepresented as “walking around with walking sticks who are close to dying”.

He has also spoken about “shame” and “fear” of keeping his condition secret.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP (Coming out as HIV+)

Photograpgh: Chris McAndrew (Creative Commons)

Lloyd Cameron Russell-Moyle FRSA MP is a British Labour Co-operative politician who was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Brighton Kemptown in the 2017 general election.

In November 2018, during a House of Commons debate to mark the 30th World AIDS Day, Russell-Moyle revealed he had been diagnosed as HIV positive a decade earlier, saying he wanted to tackle the stigma still associated with the condition and stating: “I have not only survived, I’ve prospered, and any partner I have is safe and protected”, making reference later in his speech to having an undetectable viral load, as well as discussing pre-exposure prophylaxis and public health policy.

In disclosing his HIV status in a Parliamentary speech, he became the first MP to do so in the chamber of the House of Commons and only the second person (after Chris Smith) to live openly with HIV as an MP.

Jonathan Van Ness (Coming out as HIV+)

Jonathan Van Ness (Image: Creative Commons)

Jonathan Van Ness is an American hairdresser, podcaster, and television personality. He is internationally known as the grooming expert on the Netflix series Queer Eye, for his work on the web series parody Gay of Thrones, and for hosting the Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness podcast.

The 32-year-old opens up about his condition for the first time in his new book, Over The Top, in the hope it’ll break the stigma surrounding HIV.

The hair stylist who shot to fame on the Netflix makeover show told the New York Times: “I’ve had nightmares every night for the past three months because I’m scared to be this vulnerable with people.”

He says he’s been preparing himself mentally for much of the summer for the release of the memoir in which he also talks about being an addict and a survivor of sexual abuse.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (HIV reservoirs research)

Image: University of California, San Diego

Using genetic sequencing, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers have identified a principal cellular player controlling HIV reproduction in immune cells which, when turned off or deleted, eliminates dormant HIV reservoirs.

“This is one of the key switches that the HIV field has been searching for three decades to find,” said Tariq Rana, PhD, professor of pediatrics and genetics at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “The most exciting part of this discovery has not been seen before. By genetically modifying a long noncoding RNA, we prevent HIV recurrence in T cells and microglia upon cessation of antiretroviral treatment, suggesting that we have a potential therapeutic target to eradicate HIV and AIDS.”

Co-authors include: Ti-Chun Chao, Qiong Zhang, Zhonghan Li, Shashi Kant Tiwari, Yue Qin, Edwin Yau, Gatikrushna Singh, Kungyen Chang and Maile Ann Young Karris, all at UC San Diego; Ana Sanchez, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute; and Marcus Kaul, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute and UC Riverside.

Funding for this research came, in part, from the National Institutes of Health (DP1DA039562, DA046171) and San Diego Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) at UC San Diego, an NIH-funded program (P30 AI036214).

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