U = U – Positive About HIV Art Exhibition and Special Guests – Tuesday 21st March 2023

The Eyes Open Steering Group was established in the North East of England in 2003 as a way of regionally pooling resources to widen and strengthen the impact of work at both local and regional levels regarding HIV/AIDS, in 2021, Cumbria became involved, the objectives of Eyes Open are:
• To guide the delivery of educational initiatives.
• To develop community events to raise awareness in the general population.
• To co-operate and work with individuals, voluntary organisations, and statutory authorities to raise awareness, increase understanding, and reduce onward transmission.
In Cumbria, we have 3 steering group members, David Morris from Cumbria Sexual Health and two volunteers.

Steering Group Members include:
• Blue Sky Trust, a registered charity for people living with HIV in Cumbria and the North East
region – reg charity number: 1068701 https://www.blueskytrust.org/
• Cumbria: staff from the NHS – sexual health.
• Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust – mental health services.
• Northumberland: staff from the NHS – sexual health and local authority.
• North Tyneside: staff from the NHS – sexual health and local authority.
• Newcastle: staff from the NHS – sexual health and local authority.
• Sunderland – sexual health and local authority.
• Stockton – local authority.
• Durham – local authority.
• Volunteers living with HIV.
• 30% of people on the steering group are living with HIV, therefore have lived experience.

It is now estimated that there are 106,890 people living with HIV in the UK, 94% of these people were diagnosed, and therefore know that they have HIV. This means that around 1 in 16 people living with HIV in the UK do not know that they have the virus. 98% of people diagnosed with HIV in the UK are on treatment, and 97% of those on treatment are virally suppressed which means they cannot pass the virus on. Of all the people living with HIV in the UK, 89% are virally suppressed.
In the UK we now have medications that can treat HIV, which allows people to live a near normal life expectancy, which is so different to the life expectancy people were told in the 80’s and early 90’s, but still today there is a lot of ignorance, stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV.
If a person adheres to HIV medication, the virus in the blood reduces to undetectable levels. We can now say with complete confidence that people, living with HIV and on effective treatment, can no longer pass on HIV to others, even when sex is unprotected. This is called U=U which stands for Undetectable = Untransmittable. An awareness campaign has been running for a number of years now, but still the message hasn’t got to everyone in the community, for more info please visit:

From the 17th March 2023 – 21st March 2023, we are delivering events in 4 key areas to raise
awareness about U=U and HIV.

On Tuesday the 21st March 2023, we have an event at Rosehill Theatre in Whitehaven, Cumbria, which will include an Art Exhibition with Sir Henry Hate, world famous artist living with HIV plus local artists: Rob Mitchell, Emma Hunt, William Miller, Maggie & Sarah Messenger and Vulture Club artists. Also Stephen Hart, West End actor, TV & radio presenter living with HIV will be talking about his story.
The event will be hosted by Eyes Open in Cumbria, Cumbria Sexual Health & welcomed by Malcom Dowler and myself, Julieanne Mitchell – I have been living with HIV for nearly 20 years.

21st March 2023 – Rosehill Theatre Whitehaven CA28 6SE
6 – 9pm, Free event
Food & refreshments will be provided, and the Rosehill bar will be open
Entertainment provided by Committed to Rock Choir

• Key speaker – Stephen Hart, West End actor and TV and radio presenter (with his own HIV+
radio show), will deliver a 1 hour stage show about his life living with HIV and what U=U means to him with a Q&A http://www.youtube.com/c/StephenHartHartTalks
• Headline artist: Sir Henry Hate, who is living with HIV, will unveil his art piece of what living with HIV and U=U means to him, 1.7 meter x 1.7 meter piece of art: https://www.henryhatefineart.com/
• Community support: 20 plus local community artists and/or community groups who are affected by or living with HIV, will produce their own art in forms of pictures, sculptures, poems etc.
The event is supported by Rosehill Theatre and we have received funding from a number of local funders: Finn Family Fund, Sellafield Charity Snowball, Cumbria Community Foundation, Community Fund and Arts Council England.
Quote – Julieanne Mitchell – Treasurer for Eyes Open from Cumbria
We are delighted to be delivering this event in Whitehaven on the 21s March 2023, it is so important that we break down stigma and discrimination for those living with HIV and to educate everyone about U=U. As someone living with HIV, it is so important to speak up and let people know important information regarding HIV. We have some amazing local artists involved as well as those form the North East, along with guest speakers and our local Committed To Rock Choir to entertain us, it is a free event and food and refreshments will be provided. If you would like to join us on the evening, please email fundraisingeyesopen@outlook.com to reserve your place, everyone is welcome.

Leave a comment

Next and Previous CandoFM News

Now playing: with
  • https://streaming04.liveboxstream.uk/proxy/candofm_main?mp=/stream;