World Aids Day 30 years on...
Posted on 30 Nov 2018

Even in 2018 people in the UK are being diagnosed at a late stage with HIV, and those who are fortunate to recover have a damaged immune system. Individuals who are diagnosed early through regular sexual health screening have the possibility of living to a near-normal old age by adhering to a regime of daily retro viral drugs. However, all those living with HIV, whatever the circumstances of their diagnosis, encounter ignorance and stigma, sometimes from the people from whom they may least expect it.


When Birmingham City Council ceased funding peer support groups for people living with HIV in 2016, a small number of those who had been receiving help came together to form Positive West Midlands (PWM).
PWM provides a safe and stigma-free place for people living with or affected by HIV to meet and discuss their various shared issues. The group helps to alleviate loneliness and isolation while at the same time working to promote adherence to prescribed drug regimes. PWM also signposts members with specific problems to other helpful groups.  


With World Aids Day marking its 30th anniversary on Saturday 1 December, PWM members are keen to acknowledge the occasion at their premises at Birmingham’s former Apaches Bar, 190 Corporation Street. The get-together will be a chance for people attending to remember those they have lost, and to support those who are living with HIV.


PWM will be open on the day from 4pm to 8pm, offering guests the opportunity to hear from Birmingham’s leading HIV expert, Dr Steve Taylor, and a number of people living with the virus. The event also includes live music, tarot readings, a candlelit vigil and period of reflection with Celebrant Jess May and a performance by premier drag act La Queefa. Refreshments and finger food will also be available.


Positive West Midlands is also currently creating a memorial quilt, which is set to be an ongoing project. If you have a small picture of someone you have lost to HIV/AIDS, or someone still living about whom you care, bring it along and pin it to the quilt. It will then be transferred onto cloth and sewn onto the quilt after the event.


David Dindol and the staff of Missing Bar, 48 Bromsgrove Street, will be hosting a World Aids Day after-party in the venue’s upper bar from 8pm, so why not go along and join PWM for an evening of enjoyment and reflection.


PWM is funded and helped by sympathetic organisations such as the National Lottery, Ageing Better In Birmingham, Birmingham LGBT and numerous gay venues in the city.
Positive West Midlands is a registered charity (172171).
You can find them on Facebook at facebook.com/positivewestmidlands

Also in...

Birmingham
The city’s most iconic buildings - the Library of Birmingham and Selfridges -  will be lit red on 1 December to mark World Aids Day. City-based LGBT service provider Umbrella will be staging a series of drop-in workshops at the Library of Birmingham throughout the day.


Leicester
Trade Sexual Health in Leicester will host their annual Red Ribbon Remembrance event at Rainbow & Dove on Saturday 1 December between 6pm and 8pm. The event offers an opportunity to light a candle of remembrance for those who have lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses, and to bring light to the darkness of discrimination and stigma faced by people living with HIV today.
A fundraising event at The Dover Castle follows. Hosted by the fabulous Vicki Vivacious, admission to the event is £2, with all money raised on the night going to support Trade and the HIV-prevention work it does with the local LGBT community. Visit bit.ly/TSHWAD18 for more details.


Staffordshire
Staffordshire Buddies has announced it will mark World Aids Day with a vigil at Fountain Square in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, at 5.30pm. Now in its 25th year, Staffordshire Buddies is also inviting people to meet at its headquarters (9 Birch Terrace, Hanley) from 3pm, where refreshments will be available.


Shropshire
LGBT Shrewsbury will commemorate Worlds Aids Day with a screening of the film 120 BPM at the town’s Old Market Hall cinema on Sunday 2 December. 

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