Adrian | Paul R | Marc | Paul C | Denis | Ant | Stephen | Martin | Ruaidhri | Steve | Ioan | Dan


Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett

Age: 38 

Occupation: Global Diversity & Inclusion Adviser / Trainer and Politician 

Why I decided to take part in the video: To reduce stigma and show that people from all sorts of different backgrounds can live healthily and productively. 

Do you have any advice for newly diagnosed people?: Be honest and open about your diagnosis to all. 

Is there anything you’d like to say to HIV-negative people?: When HIV-positive and undetectable there should be no fear, no stigma and no slut shaming. 

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Paul Rowell

Age: 28

Occupation: Web Developer

Why I decided to take part in the video: There's still a fair amount of stigma around HIV, and I wanted to be able to let people know it's not as scary as they may think.

Do you have any advice for newly diagnosed people?: Your life isn't over. HIV is manageable and once you're use to the medication you'll barely notice the impact it has on your day-to-day life. Stay strong and keep moving.

Is there anything you’d like to say to HIV-negative people?: Education is never a bad thing. Look up some blogs or news posts about what's happening with HIV. It's not the big bad monster it used to be.

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Marc Thompson

Age: 48

Occupation: Activist 

Why I decided to take part in the video: HIV-positive gay men have always played a huge role in the prevention of HIV yet we are always stigmatised. I thought as HIV-positive man it was really important that I speak out and celebrate U=U and this video will help reduce stigma and make us all HIV equal. 

Do you have any advice for newly diagnosed people?: As you’re clinic has already told you, you will have a normal life span and if you take care of yourself and take your meds HIV wont be a problem. Id say - take care and be kind to yourself. HIV doesn't have to be a big deal in your life. Take time to adjust and if you need support connect with other men who are living with HIV. The best support I’ve received is from people who have lived experience. 

Is there anything you’d like to say to HIV-negative people?: (STOP BEING DICKS TO YOUR POSITIVE BROTHERS!! Just kidding.) We have now have the tools to end HIV - early testing, treatment, PrEP etc. one of the key things that stands in our way is lack stigma, lack of knowledge. I’d tell negative men - Keep doing the good things you’ve been doing. We’ve all played a part in driving down new infections. But get clued up. Watch your language online (clean, are you sure you’re undetectable etc?), don’t stigmatise pos men we could your friends, fuck buddies, lovers or future husbands.

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Paul Collier

Age: 55

Occupation: Not able to work

Why I decided to take part in the video: I’m glad to be part of a campaign that helps develop healthy attitudes to HIV-positive guys!

Do you have any advice for newly diagnosed people?: There is much support out there for you to tap into.

Is there anything you’d like to say to HIV-negative people?: There is no real difference between you and me! 

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Denis Robinson

Age: 49

Occupation: Barber 

Why I decided to take part in the video: It remains important to me to keep those less informed up-to-date with developments.

Do you have any advice for newly diagnosed people?: Find three people you trust and share it out amongst them. 

Is there anything you’d like to say to HIV-negative people?: When you say you’re clean I think, "That’s nice, he’s douched."

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Ant Babajee

Age: 39

Occupation: CRM Manager and MSc Applied Public Health student at Middlesex University

Why I decided to take part in the video: I have been living with HIV for 10 years. Since my diagnosis in 2007, so much has changed in terms of our knowledge about how to prevent people getting HIV – we now have PrEP and we know with certainty people with an undetectable viral load cannot pass on the virus – and yet so many people’s attitudes haven’t moved on. Myths, misinformation and downright lies about people living with HIV are rife, making people fearful of going for an HIV test and making life a living hell for many people who have the virus. Thankfully I have an amazing group of supportive friends and I am able to describe myself as unashamedly positive. No one is going to force me back into the viral closet, and it is not my dirty little secret. Some of the worst stigma I’ve faced has come from other gay guys – I hope you will help to change that by watching this video and listening to what we have to say.

Do you have any advice for newly diagnosed people?: I think the best advice I can give to a newbie is that, although there might be challenging times ahead, you can make HIV a small part of your life. Don’t ever feel pressured into telling anyone your positive status – it should always be your choice who you tell. While thankfully I’ve got to a place where I feel comfortable being really open about my status, I know that might not work for everyone. Find your support network. I found mine through going to a newly diagnosed group, which provided me with much-needed peer support, and through volunteering. Remember support can come in lots of different forms: ‘formal’ structured support through your HIV clinic or an HIV charity like GMFA, Terrence Higgins Trust or Positively UK, or it could be ‘informal’ support from your friends. Take time to find out what’s available and what’s going to work for you. Receiving an HIV-positive diagnosis can feel very isolating, but it shouldn’t have to be like that – there are people out there who will have gone through similar things and can help you get through it. Everyone’s journey is different, and don’t feel down on yourself if it takes you time to readjust. Try not to dwell on the past and try to look forwards with positivity.

Is there anything you’d like to say to HIV-negative people?: It’s not easy coming out as HIV-positive. Even if the news freaks you out, be kind and imagine how you’d feel if you were in his shoes. Educate yourself – knowledge is a great remedy for fear and ignorance. We’re the Undetectables – we are not the untouchables!

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Stephen Hart

Age: 45

Occupation: Actor/YouTuber

Why I decided to take part in the video: As a YouTuber, I am often talking about living with HIV and I felt that getting the undetectable message out there was so important. I speak about HIV on my YouTube channel which you can view here.

Do you have any advice for newly diagnosed people?: Life does go on! When you 1st get diagnosed it doesn't seem like it will, but it really does get better.

Is there anything you’d like to say to HIV-negative people?: Do not let my status stop you from getting to know me or other people with HIV.  

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Martin Dadswell

Age: 57

Occupation: Voluntary work within the NHS

Why I decided to take part in the video: Because the more times the message is told the more people who will hear it and in turn will pass it on. The message needs to be broadcast – so we can minimise the spread of HIV.

Do you have any advice for newly diagnosed people?: Don’t panic: there will be a tomorrow. Seek advice when you are ready to ask the questions.

Is there anything you’d like to say to HIV-negative people?: Be healthy, be happy, and be as careful as you can. 

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Ruaidhrí O’Baoill

Age: 28

Occupation: Sales & Events Manager

Why I decided to take part in the video: To put a face to what undetectable really means.

Do you have any advice for newly diagnosed people?: Remember that is HIV will not and does it define who you are.

Is there anything you’d like to say to HIV-negative people?: Ask more questions and be open to learning more.

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Steve Cummins

Age: 31

Occupation: Local Government Officer

Why I decided to take part in the video: I loved the thought of having the chance to be able to explain what it means to be HIV-positive and undetectable, not just for myself, but for anyone living with HIV, thinking about dating someone with HIV or just chatting to someone with HIV on Grindr.

Do you have any advice for newly diagnosed people?: Find a support network that works for you; be it family, friends, a social or specialist support group or a counsellor and keep talking about it, don’t be afraid or ashamed, you’re beautiful as you are. Oh, and don’t Google it.

Is there anything you’d like to say to HIV-negative people?: I am not worth less than you because I am positive. I still deserve to be treated with dignity and some respect. I’m not that scary.

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Ioan Nascu

Age: 26

Occupation: Information Security Analyst

Why I decided to take part in the video: I'm on a mission to civilise.

Do you have any advice for newly diagnosed people?: It takes time, but you will eventually find your own way to deal with disclosure and all the other bits associated with your status. 

Is there anything you’d like to say to HIV-negative people?: Sometimes it can feel natural to be afraid to sleep with someone with HIV, but humankind has spent the last few millennia fighting what "feels" natural because there's a better alternative. 

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Dan Lee

Age: 44

Occupation: Drug & Alcohol Recovery Support Worker

Why I decided to take part in the video: Before I was diagnosed, I was so afraid of becoming HIV-positive, as I wasn't as clued up as I could have been. Through my diagnosis and my coming to terms with the new reality of living with HIV, I've learnt that so many of my fears were unfounded. I hope this video will help educate, so that we can continue lessening the fear and stigma around HIV, and to the new reality of what safer sex is in 2017.

Do you any advice for newly diagnosed people?: Avail yourself of all the support available and talk with your peers who are living with HIV. Doing that is what enable me to find peace and acceptance with my diagnosis and to reject the shame.

Is there anything you’d like to say to HIV-negative people?: Don't be afraid. And if you are, investigate whether or not your fear is based on facts and reality. And if it isn't, challenge that fear.

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