THT marks World AIDS Day by releasing CD of interviews from Africans living with HIV

THT marks World AIDS Day by releasing CD of interviews from Africans living with HIV

Interviewer: “If someone is sitting and listening now, and they’re living with HIV today, what would you say?”

African woman with HIV: “I would tell them we’ve all cried at some point, but you don’t cry forever. You stop crying and get on with it, because there is life after an HIV diagnosis.”

To mark World AIDS Day 2009 (December 1), HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) is releasing a CD containing six personal accounts of HIV-positive Africans living in London. The CD, called ‘Be Wise: Stories of HIV Testing and Living Positively with HIV’, has been funded by the Pan-London HIV Prevention Programme and developed in collaboration with The HEAL Partnership, to encourage African communities to test for HIV.

The CD features six interviews with African men and women, all of whom have had an HIV test and four of whom are living with HIV. All speak frankly about their experience of HIV testing, what the test involved and why they think it is important to be tested regularly. Those who tested positive say how they felt when they received the result, how it has changed their life, and how their friends and family have reacted to the news.

In the UK, African communities are the group at highest risk of contracting HIV; the most recent figures from 2007 show Black Africans represented around 40% of all new HIV diagnoses. Africans were also the group most likely to be diagnosed late, after a point at which treatment should have begun.

Marc Thompson, Deputy Head of Health Promotion at THT, says: “Within the African community you hear facts and figures about HIV all the time, but for many people it’s the stories of those who have been directly affected that really make you sit up and listen. There are more people living with HIV in the UK than ever before, and one in four of them don’t know they have it, so we hope that hearing these personal stories will encourage more Africans to come forward for testing.”

The ‘Be Wise’ CD is available free of charge from African community organisations, sexual health clinics and Terrence Higgins Trust service centres in London. It is also available online at www.mambo.org.uk.

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