World AIDS Day

Generation ZERO: Shyam, 22 “I definitely think my generation need to take it more seriously.”

 Voices of Generation ZERO

Fergus Glynn, 21

“The increasing rates of HIV in people my age is scary. For someone like me there wasn’t a lot of information when I was 18, or when I first started seeing guys, so I definitely did a lot of probably irresponsible things because I didn’t know better. I think in terms of raising awareness that needs to increase so much. I’ve definitely had that feeling where people would think that would never happen to me, without any other preventative measures, other than just not believing it. I’ve definitely had scares where I thought ‘Oh God, have I been exposed to HIV?’. I haven’t, but it is scary when you don’t know – and you don’t know what you actually have to do in order to prevent it.”

Samuel Dawson, 23

“It’s something I relate to being in Generation Z. I do feel like I haven’t really been very careful. I haven’t had PrEP and I didn’t see it as being very important, if that make sense. I’ve taken lots of risks, especially in London. When PrEP was on trial, I wasn’t really sure what it was. People were talking about it but I never really looked into it – and then when the trial ended, I didn’t really have the money for it. I could have made the money for it, I could have budgeted but I’ve been so busy it wasn’t really on my priority list. I think HIV hasn’t really been a big issue for us. I don’t really know anyone who’s died from the disease. I’m not aware of many people who have it, so I think it’s important for us to be reminded.”

Shyam Dattani, 22

“Growing up as a South Asian male in this country and the climate, I feel like it’s very taboo to speak about sexual health, especially when it comes to HIV and AIDS. It’s not something that’s spoken about at home. So to be involved with a campaign like this that opens that door slightly is something that I’m very interested in. With Generation ZERO, I really, really hope that happens – I have a few friends who are HIV positive and I was thinking how its impacted their lives. I definitely think my generation need to take it more seriously. I think people don’t value being tested regularly. I think it’s very easy to go out on a whim, engage and not do anything about it afterwards. I don’t think PrEP is well understood yet, I feel like it’s ‘something you can take, so you can have more sex’, but I don’t think people understand why it’s necessary – but I do feel it’s becoming more accepted to talk about these things.”

Photos by Joel Ryder

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