London: Annie Lennox opens new centre for HIV and sexual health

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Singer and HIV campaigner Annie Lennox has opened a new HIV and sexual health centre in east London.

The Clifden Centre/Jonathan Mann Clinic at Homerton Hospital is the culmination of the “Positive Lives” initiative which, over a number of years, has raised more than £2 million.

Lennox, who is an HIV Ambassador for the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, toured the centre which she described as a “beautiful space”, and spent time talking to staff and patients.

“As a passionate activist, and as the Mayor of London’s HIV Ambassador, I have been touched by the countless stories of men, women and children who have been affected by HIV,” the Eurythmics star said. “For many people, these are no longer stories of despair, but are stories of hope. Advances in treatment mean that HIV is no longer a death sentence.

“People on effective treatment are living healthy, fulfilling and long lives. This new clinic at Homerton is a fantastic facility that will help more people get the world-class treatment that they need.”

The guests included the Mayor of Hackney and Labour MP Diane Abbott. They heard from a patient of the centre who praised the new development, describing her own experiences of the care received whilst dealing with HIV.

Lennox formally declared the centre open by cutting a red ribbon last week.

Statistically in the UK gay men remain at significantly more risk of contracting HIV than their heterosexual counterparts.

A study released in July showed a sharp rise in the number of gay and bisexual men testing positive for HIV in the capital.

1,720 new HIV infections were recorded in 2012, an increase of 21% compared to in 2011.

Around 1 in 7 men on London’s gay scene is thought to be HIV positive.