In the week leading up to World AIDS Day on Wednesday 1st December, Terrence Higgins Trust is urging everyone in the UK to recognise the impact of the HIV epidemic both here and across the world. Last year, more than 6,600 people were diagnosed with HIV in the UK, and the figure for this year is set to rise even further.

Rod Watson, Regional Manager for THT South in Brighton said: “Someone in the UK finds out they have HIV every 90 minutes, and it is now the fastest-growing serious health condition in the country. This World AIDS Day, take the time to think about your own sexual health, and also look at some of your beliefs about HIV – are you as well-informed as you think?

Rod continued: “Demand for our services in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings is increasing all the time and we need your support now more than we’ve ever done. You can help by wearing a red ribbon to show your support for people with HIV, donating time or money to Terrence Higgins Trust South or e-campaigning with us at www.tht.org.uk.”

THT South will be marking World AIDS Day this year by working with other local HIV organisations to stage a unique exhibition. “A History of HIV in Brighton & Hove” will illustrate the impact HIV has had in Sussex over the last 20 years. It will be held at the Friends Meeting House, Ship St, on World AIDS Day from 2 to 6.30pm. Entry is free. Open to the general public and school groups, the exhibition will include a timeline of HIV from the earliest stages of AIDS scare stories up to the present day, illustrating the continuing number of infections alongside 20 years of personal recollections and media coverage. Rod Watson commented: “Younger people will not have experienced the time when large numbers of people were dying with AIDS and, although they may see media coverage of HIV in other countries, are often unaware of how many people have lived with HIV in Brighton or the impact it has had on the city.”

The exhibition will include items of personal memorabilia (diary extracts, poems, pictures, etc) alongside video displays and individual contributions, illustrating personal experiences of HIV in the area. The Brighton AIDS memorial quilt will be the centrepiece of the display. In addition to the fixed displays, various events will occur throughout the day, culminating in a closing memorial session at 6.30pm. There will also be a contemplative ‘quiet space’ for people to leave remembrance messages, thoughts on the exhibition and suggestions on how they would like World AIDS Day to be addressed in the future. A space for lighting commemorative candles will be available in the gardens at the Friends Meeting House.

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