On Sunday we marked World AIDS Day in The Library Lounge at The Standard, London with a special edition of TheirStories; our queer intergenerational conversations series, curated by Laurie Belgrave, Founder of The Chateau. For this month’s special, marking 40 years since the start of the epidemic, we invited HIV prevention campaigner and Prepster co-founder Marc Thompson, for an intimate afternoon of conversation by the fireside with Luke Kelly.
Luke opened the talk with a powerful introduction, detailing how just eight months ago he went viral on Instagram, when he publicly announced his HIV status after 10 years of keeping it a closely guarded secret. What followed was a rich discussion on Luke and Marc’s personal stories; from the shock of diagnosis (Marc in 1986, Luke in 2011), through to the emotional journey of coming to terms with their status, and accessing appropriate medical care.
It was also an afternoon to remember those who we have lost to HIV & AIDS, including many peers and contemporaries of Marc, who was diagnosed in 1986 aged just 17 years old, at a time when there was no treatment available. It was an honour and a privilege to hear Marc and Luke speak on their personal HIV journeys, and we thank them for their openness and honesty in sharing their stories.
The talk was presented in collaboration with The Love Tank CIC, a not-for-profit that promotes the health + wellbeing of underserved communities through education, capacity building + research. You can support their work by following them on social media and sharing their updates. Marc encouraged those interested to get involved, become part of the conversation, and become educators themselves. It was a rousing call, and an appropriate way to round up the World AIDS Day event.
TheirStories will return to The Library Lounge in early 2022. Keep an eye on our Happenings page for details of upcoming dates.