One of only a handful of HIV-themed public buses in the world, and the only one in Brighton & Hove, will be launched this weekend (Saturday 5 October).
Brighton & Hove Buses, the city’s Martin Fisher Foundation and local illustrator Daniel Locke worked together to design and wrap a bus to encourage people to have an HIV test and get treatment if they need it, while tackling some of the myths and stigma that still surround HIV.
The bus is named after Professor Martin Fisher, an outstanding international leader in the field of HIV research and patient care, who built a world-class service in Brighton and was widely loved and respected. Martin sadly died in 2015.
The panels inside the bus talk about Martin’s life, recent advances in HIV treatment and the Foundation’s campaignto boost HIV testing rates and decrease stigma. The bus is emblazoned with purple Queen of the Night tulips, Martin’s favourite flower.
Martin Fisher Foundation Trustee Dr Gill Dean said: “This bus will ensure positive messages about HIV are seen by all, every day throughout Brighton & Hove. This bus is an eye-catching public message with the aim of stopping the stigma surrounding people living with HIV, as well as encouraging people to get tested. What we really want to get across to people is that HIV isn’t scary anymore!”
It’s a message close to Brighton & Hove Buses’ Managing Director Martin Harris’ heart. In 1988 he broke new ground when he wrote one of the first myth-busting AIDS and HIV factsheets in the transport industry to counter the misinformation being spread by the national press at the time.
Martin said the new bus was a continuation of this effort to highlight inaccurate information still out there around HIV, while acknowledging the significant progress made in patient care and treatment.
Martin said: “This new bus is testament to Martin Fisher’s amazing determination and his incredible success in transforming patient care for people living with HIV. I know the people he helped remember him as someone that kept on fighting for them, even when they were too exhausted to fight for themselves.
“We’re proud to be part of the Martin Fisher Foundation’s campaign to encourage people to get tested, get treated and live well. Nobody should feel marginalised or alone with HIV.”