One of the things we’re most committed to at Beyond Fabulous is equality and fair treatment for all. That doesn’t just mean in terms of work, but access to health care, and perhaps most importantly education.
That’s why I was so impressed when I met Philip Christopher Baldwin and became aware of his campaign to make sure
people stay aware of HIV and how to access care.
I sat down with Philip and asked him to share his experiences and the drive behind the campaign.
1. Can you explain the importance of HIV testing week?
“Firstly, I would like to say thank you to the team at Beyond Fabulous for giving me this opportunity to talk about HIV. HIV Testing Week runs from 19 to 25 November.
“There are over 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK and 17 % of them do not know that they are HIV-positive.
“Approximately a third of people living with HIV are female. I was diagnosed with HIV in 2010, when I was 24 years old.
“HIV does not discriminate. Whatever your gender, sexuality, ethnicity or age, you should get tested for HIV. A negative result ensures peace of mind, whilst a positive result means you can access the treatment you need.
“It often surprises people when I say that I am happy, healthy and POSITIVE. You can get tested for free at STI clinics, by your GP, or you can order a self-testing kit. It doesn’t have to be public, or shameful in any way.”
2. How long have you been an activist for and what does it entail?
“I used to work in the City, doing bond issuances for a global law firm. My twenties were all about my career and. even though my employer was supportive of my LGBT status, I was terrified of telling them about my HIV.
“There were few people who were openly HIV positive in law, banking or accountancy. I was terrified that my career would be impacted. I was frightened of stigma.
“Towards the end of 2013, I started speaking more broadly about my HIV status. It was around this time that my activism began to accelerate. I’m now a Stonewall Role Model, which involves going into schools to discuss LGBT identity, HIV and faith.
“I have columns on Gay Times and the Huffington Post. I’ve contributed to a number of books. I am also involved with the Conservative Party and have hosted fringe events at the last two Conservative Party Conferences on HIV testing and global LGBT rights.”
3. Who is your biggest influence?
“I really admire Peter Tatchell. I think he is an incredible campaigner, who has helped to shape the values of our country. Sir Ian McKellen is also an inspiration.
“He founded Stonewall, who have been at the forefront of LGBT rights in the UK over the last few decades. .I massively respect Ruth Hunt, who currently heads Stonewall.
“As an LGBT Christian, I campaign to try to break down the barriers around LGBT people and faith. I am proud of my Christianity. When it comes to faith, I’m really inspired by my priest, the Reverend Canon Giles Goddard and the evangelical Christian Jayne Ozanne.”
Approximately a third of people living with HIV are female.
4. Which charities do you support and why?
“The first charity I supported was the Terrence Higgins Trust, when I hosted for their Supper Club in 2010. In lots of ways, the THT remain closest to my heart.
“My annual HIV Visibility Dinner was this year with Positive East. Positive East is London’s largest HIV charity and they do more HIV tests in the capital than any other charity. I also really like Positively UK.
“I hosted an event in Parliament with them in May, on the topic of women and HIV. The Albert Kennedy Trust are doing great work to help young LGBT homeless people. Many young LGBT people are forced to choose between their faith and their sexuality.
“As a consequence, family relationships break down and young people end up on the street. Tim Sigsworth, who heads the AKT, is a wonderful advocate for these young people. Stonewall, as I referred to above, are AMAZING!
5. Where do you see yourself in the future?
“I would love to go into politics and, one day, become an MP. The Conservative Party have been very supportive of my HIV activism.
“2016 has been a year where we have seen a number of political shocks, but I’m pleased to see our country emerging from this turbulence in a position of comparative strength.
“We are a great country and have so much to offer the world, not least around LGBT issues. We must remain an example of diversity, inclusion and tolerance (*note from Janey – HERE HERE!). ”
If you would like to learn more about Philip’s activism, please check out his website: