Hackney CVS’s Peter Bampton reflects on World AIDS Day and events in Hackney this week.
I’m the VCS Enabler Programme Manager at Hackney CVS. As part of the programme, we coordinate a quarterly Sexual Health Specialist Interest Group.
I’ve volunteered and worked in sexual health services over the past 8 years and have been inspired by the resilience shown by clients accessing their first HIV or STI screening. Unfortunately, stigma plays such a big role in people finding out their HIV status and we’ve since little progress in public attitudes to HIV over the past 40+ years since the first AIDS diagnosis.
World AIDS Day, on 1 December, is a key time for us to remember those who we’ve lost to the virus and show our commitment to those who are living with HIV, that we see and appreciate them. Wearing a red ribbon and talking openly and positively about HIV shows that we’re a community that challenges stigma.
HIV is a long-term manageable health condition and can be diagnosed with just a finger-prick test. HIV can affect anyone but we know that gay, bi and other men who have sex with men, and Black African communities are disproportionately impacted. Working together, we can support and advocate for quick, confidential and affirmative care.
Across City and Hackney, local charities and sexual health (GUM) clinics, offer fast, free and confidential screening services. This includes Positive East who offer testing from our building on the second Tuesday of the month from 4pm-8pm, the GMI Partnership, and Homerton Sexual Health.
On World AIDS Day, 1 December, you can find out more information about HIV, including treatment and prevention at Positive East’s outreach stall at Greenhouse Practice from 1pm-3pm. You can also visit their mobile testing van at Narrow Way 10am-3pm.