|Campaign:||I ran a poster campaign urging young people to be tested for HIV|
When I was 17, one of my friends died as a result of being HIV positive. He was only 24 and his death made me realise that it is very much still a relevant illness – just as much as it was in the 80’s when it was first brought to our attention. In fact, there has been an increase in recent years of Heterosexual people with HIV. It is thought that 40,000 people in London have contracted the virus and it is believed that one quarter of them don’t even know they’ve got it!
According to the Terrence Higgins Trust, recreational drug use has been associated with HIV for some time. Drink and Drugs can affect your ability to make sensible decisions and can lead someone to practice unsafe sex which is one of the ways you can contract HIV. Some people already diagnosed with the virus decide to use drink and drugs to deal with the stress of being HIV positive. This can be dangerous and effect the medication for the virus.
I decided to start a poster campaign, with the help of Fixers, to spread the word about HIV testing. Hopefully this will encourage people to get tested and more lives can be saved.
Since working with Fixers I have gone on to set up a small charity called Laced Banana that aims to tackle socially relevant issues and to engage people in communities that wouldn’t normally have their voices heard. We do this in a number of ways including May Contain NUTS* (New Undiscovered Theatre Shorts) where we perform scripts written by people in the community on issues like HIV, Mental Health, Eating Disorders and many more and we are also developing several workshops which we can take into schools.