We must honour his vision for universal healthcare and inclusive access to innovative financing for health by developing further partnerships that can enact real change. Every one of us within the global health community can set forth a ripple of hope through our actions, but together, we can become the current that Joep was, and change the very nature of global health.
The 1980s was a watershed decade. From the perspective of human rights, it was the decade when the United Kingdom (UK) began the process towards the successful shift from a system of government premised principally on civil liberties to one that recognised that the human rights of all within the jurisdiction also needed to be promoted and protected.
Across the UK, children have been the biggest winners, their lives having been transformed on every level by the HRA. Victims of crime and sex offences in particular have also been significant beneficiaries of the HRA. And the other identifiable group whose lives have been altered beyond recognition has been the gay and lesbian community.
In a taped recording he left to be played in the event of his assassination, Harvey Milk, America's first openly gay elected official, left a message for our times. "All young people," he said, "regardless of their sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment to achieve their full potential." Nowhere is the world further from that goal than in Africa.
It is peculiar that repressing sexuality is a relatively recent phenomenon in India, sexuality was not a taboo always! The first literature on the science of sexuality, the nude artistry in Ajanta caves in South India and the erotic 9th century Hindu temples, are profound evidence in favor of sexual expression, found in both sculptures and scriptures in India.
I do understand that for many, the science is not easily understood, and that you may still think doubt about the origins of AIDS is still a matter for legitimate discourse. It is not. It is an entirely irresponsible thing to do, and I beg you even at this late stage to withdraw the screening of this film.
My first stop was New Delhi where UNAIDS India and the Government of Victoria hosted a public seminar where I delivered a lecture detailing the progress on work towards an HIV cure. Prior to the seminar I met with journalists from some of the country's leading newspapers and it is my hope we will see some of those outlets reporting on AIDS 2014 from Melbourne.
Within 48 hours this hugely powerful, influential organisation has turned the clock back to a form of a self-obsessed medieval barbarism that beggars belief. I guess no-one at World Vision USA has ever met a suicidal gay teen who labours under the heavy weight of guilt and shame this $1billion a year business foists upon them.