Green Party removes HIV image from online manifesto after backlash

The Green Party manifesto includes pledges “no more HIV transmissions by 2030” (Isabel Infantes/PA) (PA Wire)
The Green Party manifesto includes pledges “no more HIV transmissions by 2030” (Isabel Infantes/PA) (PA Wire)

The Green Party has removed an image of a coughing man from its online manifesto after a backlash over its depiction of people with HIV.

The image appeared in an easy read version of the environmentalist party’s manifesto in the section describing its pledge to end HIV transmission by 2030.

However, the left-wing party were accused of being “misleading” for using the image by social media users.

One person said: “Not @TheGreenParty using this diagram in their easy read manifesto on their HIV commitment. Maybe a slight implication that people living with HIV are sick (and… dare I say, airborne contagious). Which would be incorrect.”

Luke Robert Black, the chairman of LGBT+ Conservatives, posted on X, formerly Twitter: “Any implication that HIV+ people are “contagious” (esp. airborne) is wrong and misleading. So long as you are on effective treatment, you cannot pass HIV on.”

Easy read documents are produced to help make text easier to understand and can be helpful for people with learning difficulties.

In its manifesto launched on Wednesday, the Green Party pledged “no more HIV transmissions by 2030”.

It said this will involve giving people access to the “HIV prevention pill online, in pharmacies and from GP services, and renewing successful opt-out HIV testing programmes in A&Es in all areas with a high prevalence of HIV”.

On the easy-read version the image of the unwell man has now been replaced by a hand holding a pill.

A spokesperson for the Green Party of England and Wales said: “Soon after publication we were alerted to how an image we used in our easy-read manifesto could be misinterpreted.

“For clarity we temporarily took the manifesto down to replace this image with a more suitable image that better communicates our policy to work towards no more HIV transmissions by 2030.”

According to HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, the most recent UK-wide figures indicated around 106,890 people were living with HIV in the UK in 2019.

In 2021, a further 2,692 people were diagnosed with HIV in England, 218 in Scotland, and 60 in Wales.