GMFAs gay mens health blog

GMFA receives £5,000

in ‘HIV: Positive about the Future’ photography competition.

To mark the 21st anniversary of providing HIV treatment, GlaxoSmithKline has been supporting the HIV community to celebrate HIV positive lives through its ‘HIV: Positive about the Future’ photography competition.

People living with, or affected by, HIV were asked to send a photograph capturing a moment that made them positive about the future. The judge, top London photographer, Mike Kear, was looking for images of places that had significant meaning to the entrant, people who motivated or had a positive impact on their life, events that made them feel good about themselves or even pets that brought a feeling of contentment, love or playfulness to their lives.

The quality of the images submitted was outstanding and, according to Mike, judging the competition was a very emotional process. “But in the end the simplicity of the winning image – To Be In England In The Summer Time With The One I Love [pictured] – and the sentiments expressed made it very compelling and the clear winner.”

The winner, Dom Agius from Balham, South London, explained his choice of image, "The subject is my husband Mick. We will celebrate our 17th anniversary together this December. We discovered he was positive a month after we met in the January of 1992. In the first five years we were together we lost too many friends to AIDS related illnesses and, in an era preceding triple combinations, we never dared imagine we would see our 10th anniversary together let alone our 15th, 16th, 17th .... 20th who knows how many more? This picture sums up for me an optimism and tough romanticism that I never thought we'd have the luxury of sharing."

Matthew Hodson, Head of Programmes at GMFA – the gay men’s health charity, said, “The competition theme, of being positive about the future, means a lot to us here at GMFA. Over the last few years we have seen the expectations and challenges that come with an HIV diagnosis change dramatically. The winning image, and the words that Dom uses to describe it, remind us that HIV is a part of our community and a part of our lives. A positive diagnosis still carries a heavy burden. There is no cure for HIV. Once you are infected you are infected for life, and there will always be the fear that you may pass the virus on to those whom you care about the most. This image captures that, but it also captures the hope that improved treatments have given us. People with HIV are now living longer and better lives, are successful in all walks of life and have fulfilling and sustaining relationships.”

Photo: Dom Agius

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