World AIDS Day events kicked off with an 80′s night disco titled ‘Into the Groove‘ that was held at the Compass Inn on Saturday 30th November.
The evening was the brainchild of Kevin Kelland who lost many good friends to AIDS, it was in the 80′s that AIDS hit the front pages of newspapers and our television screens, it was in the 80′s that many people and in particular gay men were dying from this disease. It was not until 1987 that AZT (zidovudine), the first antiretroviral drug, became available to treat HIV. AZT offered a glimmer of hope it slowed the development of the virus but didn’t stop it. Slowly other drugs was introduced leading to various ‘combination therapies’, that was more effective at slowing the virus. Today highly active antiretroviral therapy” or HAART is very effective at suppressing HIV replication.
The 80′s night allowed us to remember those that have died, celebrate with those living with HIV and celebrate the advancement of medication. We can all hope that one day a cure will be found.
Jo James provided the music with her 80′s show, there was a raffle and Kevin said a few words from the stage. The staff at the Compass Inn had decked out the pub with red ribbons and had a special ‘Spin to Win’ for the evening.
On Sunday 1st December PPF and UPLGBT+ presented their second Tower of Remembrance event with a walk from the university through the city centre. Outside the Guildhall we were joined by Crooked Tempo samba band who certainly made some noise. The band then led the procession up to Smeaton’s Tower. At the Tower there was speeches, a poem was read and people could tie messages of hope to a ribbon that was tied around the tower.
Read the Poem written and read by Kevin Kelland on the Plymouth LGBT Archive website.
Plymouth Labour – Luke Pollard introduces a video about World AIDS Day in Plymouth and the Tower of Remembrance walk in Plymouth.
It is a pity Luke didn’t mention the other two events in his video – Plymouth Labour should recognise there is more than the forum in this city.
The final event was our own special WAD Sunday Smoothie at the Diamond Queen where Mark Ayres combined music videos with WAD themed questions. Rock Hudson, Freddie Mercury, Liberace, Ian Charleson and Andy Bell were all featured. There was also a section on HIV awareness. All participants enjoyed the format and were surprised by some of the HIV facts. The quiz was won by Sarah from the Eddystone Trust.
We even used one of the Eddystone Quickie videos that they published as part of National HIV Testing Week that proceeded World AIDS Day to answer the question on PEP. Check out the Eddystone Trust YouTube Chanel:
Photos from World AIDS Day 2013
The photos have been shared from the Plymouth LGBT Archive Flickr Stream