Sky’s Kay Burley under fire for calling sexual health centre an ‘Aids clinic’

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

Sky News presenter Kay Burley has sparked a backlash from HIV activists – after referring to a sexual health centre as an “Aids clinic”.

Popular London sexual health centre 56 Dean Street apologised earlier today – after it sent an email newsletter to patients with HIV, inadvertently revealing their status, names and contact details to one another.

Dean Street sent its ‘OptionE’ newsletter, which allows HIV-positive patients to receive news and information, as well as make appointments and receive test results online.

The error occurred when a staff member sent the newsletter as an email, included the mailing list in the ‘to’ field – allowing everyone to see the details of all other recipients.

The story has since been picked up by the wider media – but Sky News presenter Kay Burley was slammed for her “ill-informed” terminology after referring to Dean Street as an “Aids clinic”.

She tweeted: “Aids clinic which revealed patients names: Clearly this is completely unacceptable. We are urgently investigating how this has happened”

HIV refers specifically to the human immunodeficiency virus – which is sometimes the cause of, but not interchangeable with, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Due to modern care and treatments, like those provided at Dean Street, people living with HIV will not necessarily develop life-threatening AIDS-related illnesses, which are the result of a drop in number of CD4 white blood cells.

The crisis as a whole is often referred to as HIV/AIDS – but it is inaccurate to refer to people living with HIV as ‘AIDS victims’, which campaigners say is a stigmatised term.

Gay journalist Patrick Strudwick tweeted to Burley: “The word you’re looking for is HIV. ‘Aids’ is not a word used by doctors anymore.”

Relationship expert Joe Satari said: “It’s not an ‘AIDS clinic’. Kay Burley, report the news, not your ill-informed bile.”

An HIV campaigner added: “I do not have Aids – I have HIV. Please use factually correct and less stigmatising language about people living with HIV.”

However, Burley did not seem too phased by the barrage of criticism – sending a kiss emoji to a journalist who branded the complainers “unutterably stupid people”.

Labour’s Chris Bryant famously branded Burley “a bit dim” during a disastrous interview in 2010, after she implied he was to blame for his own phone getting hacked by tabloid journalists.