2,000 People join Aids2018 March An estimated 2,000 people took part in the Aids2018 March through Amsterdam yesterday. Despite the blistering summer sun.

Although Amsterdam is experiencing one of its hottest summers in decades, a few thousand people walked the Aids2018 March. The march was the last end of a walking group of Aids activists that walked the whole way from Brussels to Amsterdam. After their arrival at the Amstelveld square in the centre of Amsterdam, they were joined by the Aids2018 March, to walk the last 2 miles from Amstelveld square to the RAI Conference Centre, the location of AIDS 2018, the bi-annual Aids Conference, which is held in Amsterdam for the second time (the first was in 1992).

Marchers seek the shadow before start of the AIDS 2018 March
Marchers seek the shadow before start of the AIDS 2018 March

Since the first Aids Conference in 1992 in Amsterdam, a lot has changed. The most important change relating to Aids and Hiv is that in 1992, a HIV infection was the same as a death sentence. Today, in 2018, this is no longer the case. With the advent of effective medication, the disease can effectively be suppressed, so that it has become a chronic affliction, no longer leading to a certain death.

Just Say No to War on Drugs
Just Say No to War on Drugs

But, this is only the case in countries where health care is rich enough, and not discriminating toward HIV-carriers. Worldwide, many people do not have access to HIV medication. Speakers at the Aids2018 March made it clear that, even today, almost a million people per year die of Aids worldwide.
This is why the march was held and explains the theme of the march: Towards Zero Together.

Protesters demanding Prep medication now.
Protesters demanding Prep medication now.

At the start of the march on Amstelveld square there were several speakers, including Princess Mabel van Oranje (a sister in law of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands). She walked also at the front of the march toward the RAI Conference Centre.
Another speaker was Olave Nduwanje (of the Black Trans & Queer Resistance Netherlands) who explained that capitalism is one of the causes of barriers in HIV treatment. She stated that capitalism and health care are a bad combination.

Chase the Virus, not People
Chase the Virus, not People

In the march several other themes to protest could be seen: there were banners urging pharmaceutical companies to give up their patents on drugs, banners demanding availability of PREP treatment, for the rights of drug users, ending the war on drugs, agains stigmatization, criminalization, etc. etc. The general tone: remove all barriers to access to HIV drugs.

March along the Prinsengracht canal
March along the Prinsengracht canal


Video impression of the arrival of the March at the RAI Conference Centre.

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