On 28th July Eric Page will take his place on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth for an hour from 10-11am as part of Antony Gormley’s One & Other exhibition Eric will spend part of his hour on the Plinth wearing a ‘THIVK you’re still negative?’ t-shirt to raise awareness of the work of Terrence Higgins Trust. THIVK is a year long campaign developed by the CHAPS partnership and launched by THT to get men to consider if they have HIV without realising. The Health Protection Agency estimates up to 10,000 gay men in Britain have HIV without knowing.
Eric from Brighton, who has worked for THT as a sexual health outreach worker for 8 years said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I want to spend my hour on the plinth to highlight the issues of sexual health and gay men in particular as HIV is a risk for all people. I plan to start my time on the plinth in a fabulous outfit, slowly changing my outfits until I end up, in homage to Mr Gormley’s previous work, naked. Leaving me, very literally exposed and vulnerable.”
Eric adds: “From 10.45am I’ll be donning a THT t-shirt to encourage gay men to take control of their sexual health by regularly testing for HIV. I’ve worked for the charity for many years and I know that many gay men are still being diagnosed late, at the point where they should already be on treatment. Late diagnosis brings a much higher likelihood of serious illness and premature death, it can reduce treatment options and can have an effect on onward transmission of the virus. I hope that my time on the plinth will get the message out far and wide about the importance of taking charge of your sexual health.”
Sue Peters from Terrence Higgins Trust said: “I want to say a huge thank you to Eric for supporting us. It’s now recommended that gay men test at least once a year, or after any unprotected sex. Yet around a third of gay men in England have never taken an HIV test, with the figure even higher in Scotland and Wales. It’s fantastic that Eric is helping us to get the message out to men to take control and make testing for HIV a regular part of their lives in such a unique and visible way.”
Terrence Higgins Trust’s helpline THT Direct (0845 1221 200) provides information, support and advice to anyone concerned about their sexual health every weekday from 10am till 10pm and from 12pm till 6pm on weekends.
One & Other is commissioned by the Mayor of London in partnership with Sky Arts. Watch all the action live from the plinth every Friday at 7pm on Sky Arts 1/HD and online at www.oneandother.co.uk