World Aids Day is held annually on December 1st to bring attention to the HIV epidemic, increase HIV awareness and encourage people to speak out against HIV stigma. Cardiff & Vale Health Charity will be marking this day with a reflection of the art they have commissioned for those affected by HIV.
Gareth Thomas, Welsh rugby legend, is a leading LGBTQ+ figure who uses his voice to fight the stigma associated with HIV. Following his diagnosis, Gareth receives regular treatment and counselling from the Department of Sexual Health at Cardiff Royal Infirmary and has been the inspiration for multiple arts projects created as part of the Arts for Health & Wellbeing Campaign.
Rachel Drayton, Clinical Director for the Department of Sexual Health said: “Gareth is such as great role model to many, using his professional status as a platform to champion issues close to him, such as LGBTQ+ equality, mental health and raising awareness about HIV. We hope displaying this artwork at Cardiff Royal infirmary inspires others to go forward with strength and hope for the future.”
Gareth was also a strong influence on a fellow service user, who kindly donated a portrait of Gareth in recognition of the excellent service he’d received at Cardiff Royal Infirmary’s Department of Sexual Health and the Terence Higgins Trust. The service user had recently taken up painting as an outlet to explore his creativity and learn a new skill during a particularly challenging period in his life.
This World Aids Day, Cardiff & Vale Health Charity would like to bring awareness around Gareth’s work and strength to speak out about HIV and everyone else who is spreading awareness, reducing stigma, and encouraging expression.
If you’d like to make a donation to support the Arts programme within Cardiff & Vale Health Charity please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/artsforhealthandwellbeing