From a simple idea to tackle HIV stigma through a photo exhibition, two years of planning and hard work, The More to Me Than HIV project is now on display at Jubilee Library and will be on show until Sunday, December 12 with photography by Angus Stewart.
Once again, I would like to say a big thank you to the team who have helped shape this project and a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to the online part of the project and to those who had their photos taken for the exhibition at Jubilee Library.
As I have said before, I was inspired to create this project when I heard Sue Hunter speak about the groundbreaking work she does with Positive Voices, by engaging with the public who do not have the topic of HIV on their own radar. From that point, I knew I wanted to create a project that would tackle HIV+ stigma.
“To use a phrase used throughout the promotion of this project, we are no longer patients, we are people living with HIV and those on effective antiretroviral treatment can live happy, fulfilling lives”
The main hurdle we have all had to tackle is the tired views regarding what it means to be a person living with HIV and to replace the images of the tombstones and icebergs from the Conservative government’s terrifying campaigns in the ’80s with something much more positive.
TV programmes like It’s A Sin and Pose put the topic of HIV/AIDS firmly back on the on the map, which helped remind people of what it was like to be a person living with HIV in the 1980s/90s, and it would be brilliant if both shows brought everything up to date and show what it means to be a person living with HIV in 2021.
And this is what the More to Me Than HIV project hopes to do with the photo exhibition, by showing the wide variety of interests people have, beyond the fact they are living with an HIV+ diagnosis.
To use a phrase used throughout the promotion of this project, we are no longer patients, we are people living with HIV and those on effective antiretroviral treatment can live happy, fulfilling lives.
By changing the narrative this way through a public photo exhibition we can start a conversation, correct misinformation and help break down HIV+ stigma. And by breaking down HIV+ stigma, we can encourage others to take control of their sexual health by regularly taking an HIV test and seeking treatment should the test come back positive. Thanks to the Martin Fisher Foundation, you can now pick up a free STI/HIV test kit from Jubilee Library.
If you haven’t been to see the exhibition yet, then please visit Jubilee Library, Jubilee St, Brighton BN1 1GE.
On World AIDS Day, December 1, members from the project will be on hand throughout the day at the library to talk about the project between 10am-4pm. The portraits will also be on show throughout the city libraries via each branch’s digital screens.
Additionally, promoted by the fact that one of our participants is blind, we have QR codes for the visually impaired; describing each portrait and giving further information by the individual.
For more info, CLICK HERE: