The Love Sex Life project partnered with Red Ribbon Living Well

Key details

Date: 1st Dec 2022

Author: Eve Froude

Type: Blog

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.

“This is where my life began. I did the training, the volunteering. After joining a network, I found the support needed.”
Joyce Jacca from North Lewisham Health Inequalities Community

Also in attendance at the event were members of Lewisham City Council, Cllr Juilet Campbell, Cllr Ayesha Lahai-Taylor. From them, discussion on the ongoing joint research project between Lewisham and Birmingham, the Brimingham and Lewisham African and Caribbean Health Inequalities Review (BLACHIR Report). Through this report, local Black African and Black Caribbean communities were finally given a voice to share their experiences of our current healthcare systems through intersectional exploration and research. This work will go toward supporting the Health and Wellbeing Board and influence both Councils, the NHS, and other partners, as well as those in attendance at the Health Inequalities event.  

Love, Sex, Life was present for the duration of the event, on hand to provide access to free HIV and sexual health testing, in addition to further signposting for additional mental/sexual health support. The Love, Sex, Life project has been working with Red Ribbon Living Well CIC, with the aim of uplifting and supporting community care and access to those most marginalised by healthcare inequalities.  

Red Ribbon Living Well CIC is a community organisation for individuals affected by and living with HIV. With the purpose of engaging, educating, and empowering, the event sought to connect a community systemically impacted by HIV and AIDS. Since June 2022, Red Ribbon Living Well CIC has been working on the PET 4 HIV Awareness Project, a creative endeavor for those of diverse ethnic heritage in Southeast London. The project has been divided into five phases of community-lead performances and workshops, with the final performance taking place at the Health Inequalities event.

With a rallying cry from the attendees of the event,

“We are here to show you the light, we are here to show you the way, we are Red Ribbon Living Well,”

the performance and event were a certainty a sight to behold.