On Friday 2nd December, the Love, Sex, Life team in collaboration with Red Ribbon Living Well CIC hosted a packed and impactful event following World Aids Day, Health Inequalities: HIV Prevention. The purpose of the event was to reduce stigma to those living with and impacted by HIV by providing a greater understanding of the illness, and to share stories through commemoration of those lost, and celebration of those who have survived. Forty years looking to the past, the present, and exploring the future.
From our October Black History Month celebrations, Love, Sex, Life exhibited some of Red Ribbon Living Well CIC’s art. Red Ribbon created a series of embroidered and woven blankets in which stories of the organisations members are detailed. This work was platformed across Lambeth, Southwark, and Lewisham within the Black Love, Sex, Life Matters exhibitions. Following the success of these events, LSL further persued a collaboration with Red Ribbon Living Well to continue uplifting their stories. These blankets were again highlighted at the Health Inequalities: HIV Prevention event as a center piece and touchstone to remind the individuals attending the event that each person impacted by HIV has their own history, and their own healthcare journey.
Throughout the day, we heard from multiple guest speakers, including Dr. Grace Bottoni and Dr Ruth Harris. They shared recent up to date medical information on the latest strides made in HIV prevention, such as the implementation of mandatory blood testing and screening for HIV for all upon blood work procedures. Other speakers included Joyce Jacca from North Lewisham Health Inequalities Community, who shared her own personal stories of working directly with those impacted by HIV with no community or governmental support. Her talk concluded with a message of hope, and a promise to all those in the room to continue work with an emphasis on further council and community aid needed.