Leeds PACT Group: Full Interview

Duration 34:46


Leeds PACT (Positive and Confident Together) Group
Interviewed by Ross Horsley
6th August 2019

RH: My name is Ross Horsley and I’m recording for the West Yorkshire Queer Stories project on the 6th of August 2019, and I’m here with the PACT group. Would somebody like to just explain to us what PACT stands for and what it is?

ANDI: PACT currently stands for Positive and Confident Together, which denotes a massive change in how we view living with HIV. I mean, it was originally called Positive and Coping Together, cos I think that’s what people were doing at that time, they were literally just getting by, they were just coping. But it’s a group open to gay and bisexual men who live with HIV. And so…

STUART: And […] prior to PACT, what was it known as then?

GROUP MEMBER: I first came across it when it was Leeds AIDS Advice in the early 90s. Then Terrence Higgins Trust took over. Then there was an intermediate stage with somebody else, and then it was early 2000s when it became PACT, so – it’s been in different guises through the years. This is probably the biggest group throughout that time.

RH: So how many members of the group would you say there are in total?

STUART: It varies between, sort of, sometimes 14 – as a top number we’ve hit 18.

ANDI: I mean there’s something like 180 on the books.

GROUP MEMBER: …who might come in once a month or once every six months, as opposed to regular attendees.

STUART: And what tends to happen is, people might have two years off and then return, because maybe they’re going through, not necessarily a crisis, but they just feel that they’d like some type of support and maybe they haven’t, y’know, discussed their issues about, y’know, what they’re going through. And I think the main question we often ask, if when we, y’know, when we meet someone who’s new, is… and you can start this one, anybody… how has PACT helped you…?


GROUP MEMBER: I got first introduced to PACT in April 2016. I was actually introduced the day I was diagnosed… erm, so… yeah, I was a bit apprehensive of coming, cos obviously I didn’t know anything about HIV, didn’t know – you sort of hear about it on the news or y’know, and you don’t really think about it. So obviously the first group I came to, I was very nervous, very, no confidence, y’know, scared. And then like three years on I’m, my confidence has gone back to where it should be. I’ve learnt more and more about what HIV’s about, y’know – the ins and outs of it. Also though, PACT, it doesn’t just talk about HIV, it also talks about other subjects that people have gone through, such as, y’know, different illnesses that they’ve got. Yeah, but it’s, y’know, I’m like where I want to be now. And I just come back each week just, y’know, if anybody else needs support and, y’know, some advice.

RH: Does it help sort of having a group that’s specifically for gay and bisexual men to be able to talk?

GROUP MEMBER: Yes I think it does, because a broader group, there’s maybe some subjects you can’t talk about, whereas here it’s very little we don’t talk about.

GROUP MEMBER: Nothing really taboo, is it, really?

GROUP MEMBER: Not really, no.

GROUP MEMBER: Very, very open.

GROUP MEMBER: Very open, and that’s the way it needs to be.

ANDI: And the group in the last six months has gone to peer-led, so it’s run by the, y’know, from within the group and the group decides the format and the topics they want bringing in, whether it’s guest speakers or, so, which is good. I think it’s one of its strengths and so…

RH: What have you had in terms of like speakers and activities and stuff at the meetings?

GROUP MEMBER: It’s been a diverse…

GROUP MEMBER: We’ve had people in to talk about stress.

GROUP MEMBER: Stress, wellbeing –

GROUP MEMBER: Sleep disorders.

GROUP MEMBER: Depression –

GROUP MEMBER: Dieticians.

GROUP MEMBER: Dieticians, sexual health, relationships –


GROUP MEMBER: Doctors have been in.

GROUP MEMBER: Counsellor.

GROUP MEMBER: Counsellor, we’ve had stuff around recreational drug use.

GROUP MEMBER: Nutritionist.

GROUP MEMBER: Traumatic videos.

GROUP MEMBER: Massage. We’ve had quite a wide variety of people we can invite.

GROUP MEMBER: And then also we have, y’know, just sessions which are a bit more intense, where we’ll just have a two-hour session where we find out about, y’know, what people have been up to, how are they feeling, trying to reconcile any issues that we may have going on. So, we interject those, y’know, in between periods where we have speakers coming in, just so… we don’t miss opportunities. And we do have a very close relationship now, with our support team. So, that information is always fed back about how everybody is [phone rings], y’know maybe if they’ve got an issue going on, etc. And that’s followed up quite quickly, but […] as a short story… do you want to let us know about your story? A little bit, from nine years ago, ten years ago?

JOSEF: Yeah, I originally came here, pretty much, as soon as I was diagnosed in 2010. I was already at that time in a bad place, anyway, from, suffering from depression for a few years. Quite isolated. I found it hard travelling on public transport; I’d have often have someone even to go on the bus with me to places. So yeah, I was like literally at the lowest point in my life, really. And, at first I didn’t want to come to like a group, like this. I mean, I went on a different course that we had going at the time called Positive Self-Management, which was mainly for people quite newly-diagnosed to sort of enrich their knowledge of HIV and possible implications. Erm, after being there, and making some friends and learning how nice everyone was I decided to come to the PACT group, and from there on I have increased my knowledge. I’ve… My depression has reduced, my isolation had certainly reduced, I’ve made some good friends. I literally, throughout that time, over the last nine years I’ve completely turned my life around. I started volunteering here. I did have a job previously for several years before being diagnosed, and now I actually have a job here, working here. And I feel a lot more confident about HIV, I’ve got a partner. I feel really stable now. Erm…

RH: Would you say that you basically all look after each other?

GROUP MEMBER: Yeah, we’re like a family –

GROUP MEMBER: It is a family, isn’t it, it’s more like a family.

GROUP MEMBER: I would say we class Stuart as a daddy, but y’know?

GROUP MEMBER: The matriarch – the matriarch and the children.

GROUP MEMBER: You find, when you’ve obviously been diagnosed, you find, you come to a group like this and you feel like you’ve got a complete new set of friends, y’know, and it’s… we all share, like, we have one thing in common, which is obviously HIV. Y’know, whereas, we have a two-hour session on a Tuesday night and y’know as soon as eight o’clock comes, that’s it, we forget about it for a week. Y’know, it’s like our two-hour fix, y’know, moaning and groaning.

GROUP MEMBER: Yeah, because for some, this is the only place they will talk about HIV, y’know. Outside of here some people, y’know, have no one to share it with. So this is good that this is a safe and supportive environment.

ANDI: And then there’s the breadth of, y’know, we’ve got people like yourself who’s been diagnosed –

GROUP MEMBER: 30 years.

ANDI: 30 years, to people who’ve been very recently diagnosed, and all the kind of numbers in between so that kind of collective knowledge and experiences is, y’know, it’s been pivotal for lots of people moving forward with their diagnosis, and people like Joe and y’know, gaining a sense of order within their lives, y’know. And that’s by the – of how it’s run, I think, cos of y’know it being peer-led.

JOSEF: Yeah, in the last ten, nine years, y’know it’s been completely different because of U=U [Undetectable equals Untransmittable] which is making a huge change to how we view ourselves and we have more confidence now because we can’t transmit it to someone else, and it’s like a life-changing thing, U=U.

GROUP MEMBER: [Whispered] Anyone else want to talk about U=U?

RH: So would you say that when you come to the meetings, is it generally quite sort of fun and jokey, or is it quite serious?

GROUP MEMBER: We have us fun times, don’t we?

GROUP MEMBER: Yeah we have us fun times, and there’s a serious time. I mean, obviously it depends on –

GROUP MEMBER: Whether they’re allowed [laughs].

GROUP MEMBER: – on the topic. It depends on the topic or whether we’ve got a guest speaker, or it’s just a general chit-chat. But most of the time, isn’t it, it’s a laugh and…

GROUP MEMBER: Yeah, but if a serious subject comes up, y’know if somebody maybe mentions something that’s happened to them in the previous week, then we’re there to support them, to perhaps give ideas. We’re not here to solve things for them, but we’re just here to […] say, ‘we’re here for you’, y’know, ‘we’ll support you – perhaps this might be an idea to help you’.

JOSEF: It can go from jokey to being deadly serious in a matter of seconds. And then maybe, after a while, it’s back to like joking again and…

GROUP MEMBER: And I think what I’m impressed with, over the last seven, eight months, is how people within the room are much more attentive now and have definitely developed better listening skills then they had before. And I think that’s, y’know, just something to do with, y’know, the fact that you’re all now supporting one another rather than, y’know, sort of like walking away and not thinking about it, yeah? […]

ANDI: And it’s also been just a really good forum for discussing whether it’s U=U or words like ‘stigma’ and just how we feel about those, cos y’know, whilst we’ve been, like, there’s been lots of developments within HIV treatment, there is still lots of baggage from the old days, so to speak, around people’s attitude, y’know a lot of people are still misinformed about how you catch HIV, treatment of it, those kinds of things, and we are still dealing on a daily basis with the stigma. I mean, we did, we had a really good discussion a few weeks ago, didn’t we, around stigma? So I don’t know if you fancy kind of going round, y’know what stigma means to each, different ones of us? What do you think? Can anybody remember what we wrote on the flipchart?

GROUP MEMBER: No! [Laughter]

GROUP MEMBER: Ignorance is definitely up there.

ANDI: It can be debilitating, it can hold people in a moment, can’t it, in fear of accessing services, fear of communicating, y’know –

JOSEF: And certainly services, yeah, there was – I mean, I had trouble getting a dentist. And also the doctors, my GPs, we’ve often discussed about GPs not knowing a thing about it. Not knowing to check that the meds we’re on to make sure that, when they prescribe them, that they don’t interfere with the HIV meds.

ANDI: So you’re often constantly going into your life and having to educate people, as you go through it, which is, y’know, can be – cos you’re then dealing with their ignorance around –

ROBERT: And that’s another positive of the group, isn’t it, because when you come somewhere like this you discuss these things and it gives people confidence then to ask these questions.

LEBO: And discrimination as well. We so often face discrimination but coming to the group you feel more aware, enlightened about what you need to do; support from people who have experienced something similar to their workplace, or anywhere about HIV. So it’s good that to guide them through as well to make something out of it.

GROUP MEMBER: We give people avenues to take, like, ‘why don’t you try that one?’ and often they come back and say, well, maybe that didn’t work and then we try something else, and that’s just a way of… But everybody in the room usually has a comment to actually make. Some more than others, sometimes.

ANDI: Another big topic that comes up is around, I mean, we’re trying to move, it’s often described as ‘disclosure’; but disclosure is something you do with a criminal record, and obviously being HIV is not a criminal offence. So we, y’know, we discuss a lot around sharing our stories, and it’s quite – and how you share that story with whether it’s a new partner or friends or family, it’s something that –

GROUP MEMBER: Or when you tell them.

ANDI: Yeah, and when’s the right time to tell somebody, and it’s – that is one of the most reoccurring themes isn’t it, throughout the group, through y’know.

GROUP MEMBER: And in answer to that question, there’s no right or wrong. It depends on you, it depends on the other person, it depends on your confidence, and it depends on the information that you have as well, about whether you feel confident with the information you have to actually give to them, and also what you then – we all make each other aware of that; very often sometimes when you actually tell somebody, they go into a mass panic, y’know, it’s like their meltdown, and so you actually start then supporting the other person. And so you have to be very aware of all of this, y’know. And also aware of who you tell.

ANDI: Yeah, and why you’re telling them, where you’re telling them. What do you want from telling them, kind of thing, so it’s a privilege for somebody to know your story, not a right.

GROUP MEMBER: Absolutely.

LEBO: Confidentiality’s another thing that we keep between ourselves; we have safe space to share all this information. When we come here, everything that we said we know that it doesn’t leak or go outside and spread all over the places and hear it from different corners, so we keep ourself and make sure that everything stays within the organisation, not spreading rumours about you have said here or something like that.

GROUP MEMBER: Just coming back to the fact that Ross is talking about West Yorkshire, and I think that we’re very lucky that, in Leeds, there is this support service, cos there aren’t that many more that actually exist within the country. Probably one or two in London.

ANDI: Manchester.

GROUP MEMBER: Manchester has George House Trust, but they don’t necessarily run this type of group, it’s more peer-led.

JOSEF: We’re the only ones that are funded by public health in the country.

GROUP MEMBER: So we are very fortunate, in actually y’know having a service available.

RH: Do you mainly come from Leeds, or do some people travel in?

GROUP MEMBER: No, everyone travels.

GROUP MEMBER: 90% are from Leeds, and 10% are outside of Leeds, but then unfortunately, those people that are outside of Leeds catchment area can’t… access the support service. They can access this group, so that’s why it’s useful, y’know, for those people outside of the area, y’know, to get some type of support who don’t have it in their locality.

ANDI: Just a place to relax isn’t it, where you don’t have to be guarded, you can just be –

GROUP MEMBER: Be who you want.

GROUP MEMBER: Y’know, coming from an area that’s got no support whatsoever, it’s a lifeline for ’em.

GROUP MEMBER: Well, I come from out of Leeds and I, we have another group, there’s the Brunswick Centre, but they don’t have a meeting like this. And if you want to know anything you can go and ask them, but you’re better coming to a group like this where you can just sit down and think, ‘I forgot to ask that’. Y’know, if it’s medication or anything else and, as we’ve said before, there’s nothing you can’t ask about in this group and that’s literally from one spectrum to the other. But yeah…

GROUP MEMBER: And that’s what it’s for, isn’t it. I mean, what might seem daft and silly to us is very important to someone else so it’s important that everybody has their say – that we can try and help where we can.

RH: What did you get up to for this year’s Pride?

GROUP MEMBER: Two-and-a-half hours on a bus!

GROUP MEMBER: Wrong question! [Laughter]

GROUP MEMBER: By the time that Pride had finished, by the time we’d got to the bottom of the bus. They were sweeping up! [Laughter]

RH: So you had a bus? [Laughter]

GROUP MEMBER: We had a bus, yes – [the] last bus in the bloody parade! […]

GROUP MEMBER: Yes, I was on the back of the bus, and it’s the least fun I’ve had on the back of a bus! [Laughter]

GROUP MEMBER: And you’ve had some fun, haven’t you!

[A new group member enters the room.]

GROUP MEMBER: […] Er, Ross is here and he’s recording the group at the moment.


GROUP MEMBER: It was a warm day. On top of a bus.

GROUP MEMBER: You enjoyed waving out the window.

GROUP MEMBER: That was to get air in!

GROUP MEMBER: Oh I enjoyed waving at my public, yes.

LEBO: Sometimes we make a trip to seaside and we all stayed together and have meals together, have a get-together, and it’s fun, getting people together and sharing the same –

GROUP MEMBER: What we mean by that, there’s a social event out, normally on a Tuesday, but outside of the group… Anybody else who wants to talk about Pride on Sunday?

ANDI: What’s people’s, what was people’s, their first Pride? What was that like? Cos I clearly remember mine, y’know, and it was one in London and all those feelings of being isolated and being on your own were suddenly gone cos there was just so many, and there was so much noise it was just insane being on the Tube, but –

GROUP MEMBER: I remember my first one, in London, probably ’93, in the gardens, on the River Thames, next to the Oxo Tower. I lived there, but I can’t remember the name of the gardens, but anyway. I think there were 500 people there, and maybe four stalls. It has gone into the back of my memory – but then it moved rapidly into a bigger event that started in Hyde Park, and I went to –

SEAN: The one I went to was on Clapham Common –

GROUP MEMBER: […] They had the march through Hyde Park –

GROUP MEMBER: Where did it use to finish?


ANDI: What was yours like Sean? What was your first Pride, Sean?

SEAN: Clapham Common was the first one, 1997.

ANDI: How did it feel for you? Do you remember how it made you feel?

SEAN: I think I was a bit intimidated cos I was quite shy at the time. [Laughter] I don’t think the one in Leeds, it hasn’t been going that long has it, really?

ANDI: It’s had different guises; it used to be on Woodhouse Moor, didn’t it? It used to be the Pink Picnic.

SEAN: […] Headingley once. And I don’t often come into Pride that much. Apparently, there were 200 floats on’t parade or something? Someone said there were 200 floats or something?

GROUP MEMBER: It was the biggest one ever, this year.

GROUP MEMBER: I don’t think there were 200.

GROUP MEMBER: Could have been, it took us that long to get round.

GROUP MEMBER: Oh shut up! [laughter] […]

SEAN: You know you have to go walk all the way round to get [unclear] down Call Lane, there was just so many. I think that was my problem, just completely crowded.

GROUP MEMBER: How do people feel about the actual, y’know, the location? The location of Pride?

GROUP MEMBER: It’s got to big for Lower Briggate, it’s got too big. It needs changing.

GROUP MEMBER: Cramming 66,000 people into like y’know into one street –

GROUP MEMBER: I mean you could say that, it’s like Manchester, it’s too big for Manchester. They’re on about moving that out of the village now.

GROUP MEMBER: I think the good thing is, it’s getting bigger every year, and it’s still free. I will not go to Manchester cos they charge you, just in principle.

GROUP MEMBER: I mean, this is the last free one left, now, in Leeds.

GROUP MEMBER: It is, yeah.

GROUP MEMBER: It’s the last free one.


GROUP MEMBER: The fact that we’ve got issues with numbers now is fantastic in itself, as opposed to those in the 80s when it was, y’know, a handful or a few hundred.

GROUP MEMBER: When you’re dancing round your handbag, six of you.

GROUP MEMBER: It grew when it became political, and when the AIDS crisis came around there was far more people involved pushing for change. Now that has lessened so much now. I was looking yesterday, I didn’t see very much at all in terms of political pressure or groups wanting to push forward, erm, an idea or something they needed, so… It’s more of a celebration, which –

GROUP MEMBER: It’s like a family celebration now, isn’t it, there’s a lot of families and –

GROUP MEMBER: Yes, the cross-section of people who were there, to support –

GROUP MEMBER: And the gays have got their families with them –

SEAN: I was talking to a couple, he were straight actually, he said it’s fantastic to bring your kids along to celebrate, y’know, being gay, and I thought, 20 year ago, 30 year, that wouldn’t happen. People come out these days, don’t know how easy it is really.

GROUP MEMBER: I think there’s an awful lot of people come from outside Leeds. Some come over from Manchester. I mean, my train was full of people dressed up in all sorts of Pride outfits, y’know, the train was full. So sixty-odd thousand people all coming to have fun.

ANDI: It’s a circuit, a party circuit isn’t it, you’ve got people who go all around the world celebrating Prides.

GROUP MEMBER: It’s a bit like Eurovision, isn’t it? Y’know, you get your massive followers, y’know. But, I took my granddaughter and she loved it, absolutely loved it. She was in her element, she was dancing, and waving her flags about – brilliant, brilliant day.

GROUP MEMBER: I think some of the aspects of Pride to me is money-making, in a sense.

GROUP MEMBER: It’s got commercial, hasn’t it? And I think that’s what a lot of it is about now.

GROUP MEMBER: I preferred it actually when it was at Hyde Park.

ANDI: Yeah, me too.

GROUP MEMBER: And it was free and there was a lot more space, I mean the park is massive so it doesn’t seem so crowded.

GROUP MEMBER: But the businesses want them in the centre, don’t they?

GROUP MEMBER: There’s no access, really, for people with any type of disability or a wheelchair, y’know, if you’re down in where all the bars are, if I were in a, if anybody were in a wheelchair trying to get around, it would be impossible.

GROUP MEMBER: It were hard enough walking.

GROUP MEMBER: I do empathise with people with any type of disability.

GROUP MEMBER: That’s sort of an issue with success. And, long may the success continue, and just hopefully the issues and problems will hopefully be somehow worked out.

GROUP MEMBER: I do believe Leeds City Council actually run it very well for the last number of years –

GROUP MEMBER: Was this the first year they ran it, though? Was this the first year they ran it, or was it…?

GROUP MEMBER: No, no, they ran it last year as well. But there’s a few big sponsors, isn’t there, I think…

JOSEF: I do wish they would have more like emphasis on HIV and telling people about it, just get the word out, U=U. I know it’s been barely mentioned even though U=U is a thing, it’s really never really been mentioned on the stage. The HIV word might have been used once; I heard it this time, whereas in years and years before it had a huge emphasis. And yet there’s still, y’know, people living since, who’s been diagnosed 30 years, there’s still more people now than there ever was, living with HIV, but people seem to have just, let it go, and forgot about it.

GROUP MEMBER: Stigma’s still around. I mean, there was an opportunity on Sunday to have my photo taken with somebody holding a placard about HIV. I chose, even after all these years, not to be in that photo.

GROUP MEMBER: And I did, for the first time, interesting. […]

LEBO: I think it is a while to change because of the better treatments and everything else that has shifted with HIV in the past, that you [unclear] more, so they feel like, it’s not like people feel more [unclear] knowing what is going on, but publicly parading HIV on the street like that, nobody would like to join. Does people identify you as one, so you don’t feel confident enough to go and spread the news about HIV.

GROUP MEMBER: I think as well, since the onset of PrEP, it’s taken a little bit of a back seat, because there is something now that hopefully will prevent it from happening in the first place. So, prior to PrEP and prior to being able to the drugs that make you undetectable, there wasn’t anything else. So it was very risky, very dangerous. Now with PrEP and the new medications, and hopefully the medications will improve and continue to improve going forward, but the amount of people that I know now personally that are on PrEP, and every website you go on, whether it’s a dating site or a meeting site, PrEP is there in the biggest, y’know, in a big percentage of people now.

GROUP MEMBER: But there’s still going to be a period, for the general population, to catch up to the idea of what PrEP does and what U=U is. So, whether that’s another generation or not, I don’t know, before that – before they fully accept it.

GROUP MEMBER: Can I ask a question? Has PrEP been offered by the NHS now, cos I know in the early days…? Oh it is?

GROUP MEMBER: There’s some trials on.

GROUP MEMBER: I thought the numbers were really limited, cos what I noticed when it was sort of in the news and it was only some people could get it, everyone was saying, ‘Oh I’m on PrEP’, rather than saying, ‘I just want to bareback’, so I think it’s the stigma of barebacking –

GROUP MEMBER: You can buy it, anybody can buy it.

GROUP MEMBER: Yeah, but a lot of people won’t have the means to do that, and how do you verify that? So, I feel like the numbers are a bit skewed, and I think it comes from stigma. Just in my opinion.

GROUP MEMBER: They’re trying to get it funded, at the moment it’s not.

GROUP MEMBER: Again, PrEP is one of those conversations that we’ve had about, y’know, if you decide to buy it, for instance, do you understand the issues behind buying it, taking it, still having a regular test? And is that actually happening? And nobody’s necessarily monitoring that system.

GROUP MEMBER: It’s not regulated. It’s like £40 to buy it, so that’s like another bill, y’know, like gas or electric bill.

GROUP MEMBER: And that’s only a month’s supply isn’t it?

GROUP MEMBER: And how long does that last you?


[General agreement]

GROUP MEMBER: So there’s still sort of PrEP and it’s an accident waiting to happen somewhere, possibly. Although when we were all discovered about PrEP I think y’know there was a very positive voice within this group.

GROUP MEMBER: Yes. We said it were too late [laughs].

GROUP MEMBER: Yes, I mean, it’s been the biggest breakthrough for many years, hasn’t it? Let’s face it. Y’know, since it first appeared in the 80s.

GROUP MEMBER: So, so with the undetectable people, like the majority here, and PrEP – is it going to fall dramatically?

GROUP MEMBER: Well, it already has, hasn’t it?

GROUP MEMBER: It’s beginning to fall…

GROUP MEMBER: 2015 was the first year that new diagnoses fell for the first time rather than rose each year, and that’s when PrEP started to be, like, people started buying it for themselves in London, around that time.

GROUP MEMBER: It’s a step forward.

GROUP MEMBER: The government have said that by 2030 they want to see a zero diagnosis, but unless they throw some money and put people on PrEP, then I think they’re going to have their work cut out.

GROUP MEMBER: And there’s only 1,000 people that were allocated in Leeds, they might have increased that slightly, but that’s the trial – a thousand people in Leeds, for the whole of Leeds.

RH: I might ask you one last question then: anyone can answer this, and more than one person can answer it, but if there was someone that you met that you thought would benefit from this group, but who were scared of coming along, how would you describe the group, what would you say to them?

GROUP MEMBER: Beneficial.

GROUP MEMBER: Welcoming, informative.

GROUP MEMBER: A friendly group.

GROUP MEMBER: Come on… tell us. [Laughter]

GROUP MEMBER: It’s a safe space.

GROUP MEMBER: It’s a safe space, it’s welcoming. Everyone’s included.

LEBO: Open-minded.

GROUP MEMBER: Reduces isolation.

GROUP MEMBER: I’d say it was a community for one of the last marginalised groups that’s afraid to form its own community. HIV’s not something that people like to talk about, and especially since it’s so closely linked to sex. So with ‘gay’ you can think, ‘oh love’, but with HIV it’s like ‘sex’ or ‘you’re born with it’, but it always comes back to sex – I keep saying that word! But I think that’s where the stigma comes from, and I think that fact that it’s inside you as well, and so a lot of people won’t seek out that community, or do like a casting call, like, ‘hey, hi, I’m HIV, come join me’. Like no one’s gonna put themselves out there like that, very rarely you’ll find a person to do that. So yeah, I’d say that’s what I’d tell them, it’s a community for a group that individually would find it hard to form a community for themselves.

RH: Thank you very much, everyone, for taking part, it’s much appreciated.