Labour commit to HIV Action Plan and ‘trans-inclusive’ conversion therapy ban in election manifesto

Keir Starmer's at today's Labour manifesto launch
Keir Starmer's at today's Labour manifesto launch (Image: Labour)

Today, in their General Election manifesto, Labour announced it would commission a new HIV Action Plan in England and implement a ‘trans-inclusion ban’ on so-called conversion therapy.

The manifesto also states that Labour will ‘protect LGBT+ and disabled people by making all existing strands of hate crime an aggravated offence.’

Elsewhere, it says Labour will ‘modernise, simplify, and reform the intrusive and outdated gender recognition law to a new process,’ adding: ‘Labour is proud of our Equality Act and the rights and protections it affords women; we will continue to support the implementation of its single-sex exceptions.’

It adds: ‘We are currently on the cusp of eradicating new cases of HIV. Labour will commission a new HIV action plan in England, in pursuit of ending HIV cases by 2030.’

Party leader Keir Starmer unveiled the manifesto, heavily focused on economic growth and wealth creation, at a launch event in Greater Manchester today (Thursday 13 June 2024).

Labour’s election manifesto: what it says about LGBTQ issues

‘Delivering opportunities for all means that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity. Labour will protect LGBT+ and disabled people by making all existing strands of hate crime an aggravated offence.

‘So-called conversion therapy is abuse – there is no other word for it – so Labour will finally deliver a full trans-inclusive ban on conversion practices, while protecting the freedom for people to explore their sexual orientation and gender identity.

‘We will also modernise, simplify, and reform the intrusive and outdated gender recognition law to a new process. We will remove indignities for trans people who deserve recognition and acceptance; whilst retaining the need for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria from a specialist doctor, enabling access to the healthcare pathway.

‘Labour is proud of our Equality Act and the rights and protections it affords women; we will continue to support the implementation of its single-sex exceptions.’

Conversion therapy refers to the scientifically-debunked practise of trying to change someone’s sexuality and/or gender identity.

The UK’s leading HIV charity, Terrence Higgins Trust, say a new HIV Action Plan for England is “essential” in achieving the Government’s ambition to end new HIV cases by 2030.

The current HIV Action Plan is due to expire in 2025. As it stands, the UK are not on track to meet the necessary target of reducing new transmissions by 80% within 12 months. The charity affirms that a new HIV Action Plan is “exactly what is needed.”

Labour will face the Tories at the polls in the General Election on 4 July 2024.

“Ending new cases of HIV in the UK by 2030 is possible but not probable”

Richard Angell, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “With just one parliament left to deliver the UK’s commitment to end new HIV cases by 2030, this important commitment in the Labour Party’s manifesto of a new HIV action plan in England to ensure we do not miss this historic opportunity is excellent news.

“The government’s current HIV action plan expires next year, which is why today’s announcement from Labour is exactly what is needed. Ending new cases of HIV in the UK by 2030 is possible but not probable –  a renewed HIV Action Plan which is bold and ambitious is essential to us achieving this historic goal.

“We are clear on what this new plan needs to include – increasing HIV testing, expanding PrEP access and ensuring everyone living with HIV gets the care they need. In two years, the opt-out HIV testing in A&Es programme has found more than 5,000 people with HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis in just four cities, and soon 47 more hospitals across England will be testing thanks to an expansion this year.

“This pioneering programme is essential to halting HIV transmission in the UK. Waiting times for PrEP average more than 12 weeks and 14,000 diagnosed people are not taking their medication. To be the generation of MPs to end the HIV epidemic and a government that makes it happen in office, we have to turn this around. Get it right and we could be the first country in the world to end new HIV cases. What a legacy that would be.”

According to a party statement, Labour “plans to deliver economic stability, cut NHS waiting times, launch a new Border Security Command, set up Great British Energy, crackdown on antisocial behaviour and recruit 6,500 new teachers” should it win the election.

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