UK YouTubers such as Hannah Witton, Jake Edwards, and Gary C have teamed up to show their support for an HIV testing campaign.
National HIV Testing Week 2016, which took place on 19-25 November, promotes the importance of HIV testing, particularly for gay and bisexual men and black African men and women, who make up seven out of every 10 people in the UK living with HIV.
The annual campaign “raises awareness of the importance of HIV testing, as well as increasing opportunities to test – be it in clinical settings, in primary care, through community-based rapid testing or via postal testing. The ultimate goal is to increase regular HIV testing in the most affected groups”.
“This campaign is important to help end the stigma and fear around getting tested, who should get tested, why should you get tested and how often you should get tested,” said Jake Edwards in a video to help promote the week.
Calum McSwiggan, YouTuber and supporter of National HIV Testing Week, spoke to TenEighty the importance of getting tested for HIV.
HIV Testing Week starts today – it's my 3rd year working on this campaign & I can't stress the importance of testing enough ❤️ #HIVTestWeek
— Calum McSwiggan (@CalumMcSwiggan) November 19, 2016
“HIV can affect absolutely anyone,” he explains, “so it’s incredibly important that everyone gets tested.”
54% per cent of the people newly diagnosed with HIV in this country last year were gay or bisexual. “However, it’s everyone’s responsibility to get tested for HIV,” he adds, “and so it’s great to see a diverse range of YouTubers involved. Joy Ogude has spread the message to the black African community, Alex Bertie and Lewis Hancox are incredible trans* ambassadors for the cause, and people like Hannah Witton and Rowan Ellis have taken the message to young heterosexual and lesbian women.”
— It Starts With Me (@startswith_me) November 21, 2016
Calum believes that teaming up with YouTubers can help spread the message of the campaign, enabling more reach and interaction than traditional media. “YouTube presents a unique opportunity to reach people in a way that the traditional media can’t,” he states.
“YouTubers’ audiences are so much more engaged with their favourite YouTubers than they are with any other form of media, and that means that they really listen when an important message is being shared. I think it’s because people see their favourite YouTubers in the same way that they see their friends – and if their mate is getting tested for HIV, then they realise that they should probably be getting tested too.”
— Electra Snow (@ElectraSnow) November 25, 2016
Calum is an advocate of LGBTQ+ rights on YouTube and supporter of the Terence Higgins Trust, a charity “at the forefront of the fight against HIV and improving the nation’s sexual health”.
Speaking about his association with the campaign, Calum says: “As an LGBT+ YouTuber, I’ve always felt it my responsibility to talk about the issues that affect our community and to support the charities who seek to address them.
“Terence Higgins Trust is a charity that have been there to support some of my friends in the past, so when they reached out to me three years ago and asked me to support the campaign I jumped at the chance. My channel has grown alongside the campaign, it’s an incredible cause, and it’s something I look forward to each and every year.”
— Gary C (@oohgaryc) November 21, 2016
A whole load of YouTubers took part in a 360-degree photoshoot at the National Portrait Gallery as part of the #MadeForYou campaign! Alternatively, find out more about Carrie and Giovanna Fletcher‘s starring roles in A Christmas Carol at the Lyceum Theatre.