30 November 2012

Author Joan Burnett

Our first World AIDS Day Film Night at FACT on Wednesday 5 December celebrates people living with HIV and the power of personal relationships to combat the effects of the illness along side medical intervention. We have chosen Ebb & Flow and Life, Above All, two films that highlight family life whilst not dodging the realities that come with the illness. Both are rated 12a, so that young people can come along too and see positive messages about this subject.
I went to see the Liverpool theatre company WWDN perform Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens last week, a play all about effects of HIV. The theatre space was packed, but oddly, there was an empty to seat next to me, and inevitably, as the emotional impact of the play increased, I was driven to think of a dear friend of mine and what he would have thought had he been sat next to me, instead of dead for seventeen long years because of HIV.
Many people my age have a friend-shaped hole in their universe because of this illness. Whilst all illnesses cause distress for the patient and their loved ones, there is something about the way that HIV can be linked in a particularly toxic way with homophobic attitudes, dodgy economics and sheer racism which makes the burden of this disease doubly heavy for many people.
In Liverpool, we are supremely lucky to be served by Sahir House, the multicultural support and information centre dedicated to making the lives of local people with HIV and those of their friends and families easier to negotiate.
FACT will be sharing the proceeds of every ticket sold with Sahir House, and supported by our long term sponsor, Barefoot Wine, will be offering every ticket holder a glass of wine or soft drink to take into the film. I hope you will join with me in raising glass to all those around the world - whoever they are, wherever they are, - living with HIV.
Each year on 1 December, World AIDS Day, Sahir House holds a vigil event in Liverpool. This year it's in the Concert Room of St Georges Hall from 7pm onwards. 

Find out more at worldaidsday.org