Manchester HIV Activists continue the fight to eradicate AIDS by 2030
Right here in Manchester, a community-led outreach program called ‘In Equal Parts’ is taking on HIV - aiming to eradicate the disease within ten years whilst ending the shame and stigma surrounding it.
As scientists across the world have spent 2020 scrambling to find a vaccine for the virus putting life on pause – another group much closer to home have been fighting a battle against a very different beast.
Right here in Manchester, a community-led outreach program called ‘In Equal Parts’ is taking on HIV – aiming to eradicate the disease within ten years whilst ending the shame and stigma surrounding it.
This incredible project also has an incredible origins story. It all began with a play.
First Time was a performance written by the Mancunian creator of the project Nathaniel Hall (who describes himself as an ‘accidental activist’). Premiering in 2018 and appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, it documents the protagonist’s difficult journey with HIV, whilst also keeping the audience laughing.
After two successful sold out tours of First Time, the 2020 Autumn tour was cancelled due to coronavirus, which spurned Nathaniel to create and curate In Equal Parts instead.
The goal of this project is to help with the global aim to end all new transmissions of AIDS worldwide by 2030, but also to open up a dialogue on a smaller scale about an issue that affects over 38million people.
According to Worldaidsday.org: “Each year in the UK over 4,450 people are diagnosed with HIV, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.”
‘In Equal Parts’ combines artists and non-artists, people with HIV and people without, and educates them on modern healthcare and prevention, destigmatize the virus and empower people to understand their role in ending all new transmissions by 2030.
In preparation for World Aids Day on the December 1, Nathaniel Hall will be leading the project alongside Yvonne Richards, Paul Fairweather and Mark Holder. All four have different relationships with the virus, and all are determined in their plight to bring awareness to the disease.
Nathaniel said: “To date, In Equal Parts has engaged over 5.5k people in creative workshops, talks, exhibitions, rapid HIV testing and fundraising parties – over 18k people have been engaged online.”
The project is working in partnership with George House Trust, Positive Steps North West, Contact and Waterside Arts.
At 8pm on World Aids Day, a digital event hosted by Contact in association with George House Trust and Superbia will join Nathaniel and Jordan Roberts in a creative discussion panel about HIV stigma and shame, with Positive Speakers from George House Trust.
The panel will be open to all questions surrounding the disease, and the event will be closed by the premier of Jordan Roberts’ brand new film: HIV + Me.
Coming soon, HIV+Me will also showcase the lives of three people in Greater Manchester currently living with AIDS, through three short films.
The project has also created ACTUP+Live, a free virtual learning resource for local schools and community groups that will help to raise awareness of HIV in the younger generation, and explores how everyday creativity can inspire radical change.
The activities continue into 2021, with events such as ‘a conversation with Russel T. Davies’, artist development workshops with Nathaniel Hall, and increased promotion of sortHIVorg.uk, which encourages access to HIV testing and PrEP.
Tickets for the first In Equal Parts digital event can be found here.
More information on the In Equal Parts outreach program can be found online.
Tameside police officers hailed ‘absolute heroes’ after saving the life of a seven-year-old girl
Two Tameside police officers have been hailed as “absolute heroes” after saving the life of a seven-year-old little girl.
It comes after emergency services were called to an address in the Greater Manchester borough of Tameside earlier this week (29 November), and found a young girl who was struggling to breath and coughing up blood after choking on a sweet.
Police Constables Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell, from Greater Manchester Police‘s (GMP) Tameside division, were first on the scene.
To the huge relief of the girl’s parents, who were said to be “understandably distressed” and concerned for her welfare, PC Kincaid jumped straight into action and was able to utilise his first aid training to full effect by going on to successfully dislodge the sweet from the youngster’s throat, and then helping to calm her down before the paramedics arrived.
Whilst PC Kincaid looked after the little girl, PC Blundell did “everything he could” to help the parents remain calm.
Paramedics then took over once they arrived, and the young girl was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Reflecting on the incident, and hailing his officers “absolute heroes”, Superintendent Mike Walsh, from GMP’s Tameside district, said: “PCs Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell acted without hesitation during the incident, and took control of the situation that they were faced with.
“They deserve every credit for staying calm under extreme pressure and for working together as a team and utilising their training to lifesaving effect, and I’m sure the girl’s parents and family will consider them to be absolute heroes.”
“We’re both glad that we were in the right place at the right time,” PC Kincaid added.
“I have a daughter the same age as the little girl who needed our help, and I cannot tell you how much of a relief it was when she started breathing normally and said she was okay after I had managed to dislodge the sweet.