HIV/AIDS is a subject that require a great deal of understanding to stand up and discuss and the same to be fair is true about COVID. After all people like the current President of the USA has on occasions made all sorts of claims about COVID that has demonstrated his own ignorance. However the first person that I am aware of who has brought COVID and HIV/AIDs into the same sentence in public in the House of Commons is the MP for South Thanet. Now to be fair he is clearly very concerned for his own constituency as after he had made the rather concerning statement he did then refer to the fact that his constituency was one of the top five constituencies when it comes to COVID conditions with 448 people per every 100,000. However his call for pubs to remain open despite this based on his understanding of HIV/AIDS is deeply concerning. I recall the amazing hard work that the Princess of Wales did to make HIV/AIDS a better understood condition. Her willingness to shake the hands of people she met and to sit next to them came at a time when many people were unwilling to do so. This helps to illustrate that sitting in a pub with someone who has HIV/AIDS is very different to sitting in a pub with someone who has COVID. The fact that HIV/AIDS will remain a condition for the rest of the lives of the people impacted by it, while the people who have COVID and then recover will not be impacted is also very different. However Craig seems primarily keen to retain the open pubs rather than to spend any time understanding the difference of the two conditions. Anyway here is his first few words and the rest of his speech is available from this link.
It is rather apposite that we are having this debate on World AIDS Day; many hon. Members are wearing its symbol. We should consider what we did in the 1980s, when AIDS was the pandemic and the risks were very much there: we told people to change their behaviour and we had very strict messaging, but we did not take away liberties, fine people or close down the pubs that were obviously a place where future infections may have started.
Let us hope that in due course Craig and some of his other colleagues will be informed about the difference between COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS