HIV activists on what it’s really like to be positive and why you must get tested

Jonathan Blake, Tom Hayes and Ant Babajee speak to PinkNews for World AIDs Day

For World AIDS Day, PinkNews spoke to HIV+ activists who explained why you must get tested.

Jonathan Blake, 69, witnessed the AIDS crisis and became a founding member of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. Tom Hayes, 33, was diagnosed with HIV and now raises awareness about how being HIV-undetectable means you cannot pass on the virus through sex. Ant Babajee, 40, is a gay man campaigning for better mental health care for HIV+ people.

Despite how far treatment has come, it was only in 2017 that Avon and Somerset police falsely suggested spit hoods should be used to prevent the spread of HIV. In 2018, a study found that 21 percent of people mistakenly believe HIV can be passed on through kissing.

Jonathan, Tom and Ant break down the myths, open up about what it’s really like to live with HIV and explain why you should get tested. Order a free HIV self-test kit through the Terrence Higgins Trust.

What is it like being diagnosed with HIV?

Watch the video below to see Jonathan, Tom and Ant share the moment they found out they were HIV-positive and what life has been life for them since then.

Jonathan Blake, a founding member of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, learnt that he was HIV-positive in the autumn of 1982.

“In those early days it was really dark. There was no medication, the right-wing press was just appalling [saying] we were like modern-day lepers, we should be incarcerated or sent away.

“Gay men were always put in side wards in those days so you wouldn’t contaminate anybody.

“They did the biopsy, it came back and it was HTLV3, which is what it was called then.

HIV+ activist Jonathan Blake talks about World AIDs Day

HIV activist Jonathan Blake was diagnosed in 1982 when little treatment was available (PinkNews)

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