Why This Book Why Now?
This book focuses on the UK HIV epidemic, and within that reflects on the HIV experience of African communities through individual stories and reflections rather than HIV statistics.
This is the first book specifically to do that. This has been made possible as a result of five Black African women living with HIV and residing in the UK.
In this book, we have shared some of our experiences and the reflections of many more people like us, and, together with our allies, we hope the world never forgets what we went through, what we did and how we lived, fighting for our very survival as HIV and the stigma related to it threatened our lives.
Creating a vision to symbolise our journey
It was important to me that we created a bold and vibrant collage within the book.
Central to the book’s design is a tree, an oasis of peace symbolising strength, growth, stability, standing tall against all weathers.
For me, this is representative of how we stand together against the discrimination and stigma of living with HIV.
‘The fabric with overlapping birds is called Ahenfei/Abusua/Ayawa in Ghana, meaning unity. In unity we stand together as one. The birds represent our families, community/allies and support around us, flocking together in waves. These symbolise The power, force and energy we all have within us. It brings constant change and flexibility, which we have all experienced when living with HIV.’
About HIV treatments & Stigma
Then there was also the stigma, myths and misconceptions about HIV, which sadly still persist today, some 40 years into the epidemic. We have certainly come a long way in terms of how treatments for HIV have developed, to a point where if someone adheres to their treatment – takes their treatment as advised and follows any restrictions, which are very few nowadays – and if they achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load, it means they cannot pass HIV onto their sexual partner or their unborn child. This is also known as U=U, Undetectable=Untransmittable.
A Foundation For The Future
Our hope is that this project is a foundation that African communities can build on, to continue to document the journeys of the African diaspora, highlighting the impact we are making in other areas in the UK, rather than always focusing on our challenges.
Keep in Touch
If you want to keep in touch with roadshow dates information and activities related to the book and its themes please sign up here