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Student artwork promotes HIV Testing Week

This week during HIV Testing Week a piece of artwork depicting a microscopic view of HIV molecules is being displayed in the YorSexualHealth Clinic in Monkgate, York.

Rebecca Carr, HIV Testing Week Champion, wanted to alert people to the campaign and had seen other pieces of artwork which had sparked this idea.

One of her colleagues suggested two sixth form students who might be interested in creating the artwork, Hannah Brown and Holly Beer, who were eager to help with the project.

Rebecca explained: “Hannah and Holly were given six facts about HIV and the two that really stood out to them were to be used as the basis of the artwork. The aim was to raise awareness of HIV in young people.”

Without making the piece too abstract, Hannah and Holly aimed to combine medical ethics with art.

The artwork depicts a microscopic view of HIV molecules and by using a range of materials such as tissue paper, paint, powder, sand and PVA, the girls managed to create a variety of textures to make the features stand out.

The two key facts about HIV that really shocked Hannah and Holly were that one in three HIV positive people in Europe are unaware that they have HIV, and that 42% of HIV infections in the UK in 2013 were diagnosed in heterosexuals. These facts have been included in the artwork and are  written alongside the molecules.

Hannah explained: “Because we weren’t around when HIV was so big in the media, our generation don’t know enough about it. We wanted the artwork to show that this information is relevant to everyone, as it could affect them too.”

Holly continued: “We didn’t want the artwork to be menacing and negative but welcoming, in order to encourage people to take a HIV test.”

The painting will be up in the entrance of the Monkgate YorSexualHealth Clinic until the end of this week.  

HIV Testing Week

This week is HIV Testing Week, a European-wide awareness week, which aims to encourage people to ‘Talk HIV Test HIV.’

During the awareness week, quick Point of Care Tests are being made available across Scarborough, York and North Yorkshire.  Point-of-care HIV tests are screening tests that provide immediate results on fingerstick blood specimens. Test results are available within just 20 minutes.

One in three HIV positive people in Europe are unaware they have HIV . It is important that people know their HIV status as a late HIV diagnosis can kill.

There are increased health benefits from knowing your HIV status. Highly effective treatment is available to people who are HIV positive and treatment of HIV reduces transmission and improves quality and length of life.

For more information about where to get tested locally visit

25 November 2014

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Photo Caption: Left to right: Students Hannah Brown and Holly Beer with Rebecca Carr (HIV Testing Week Champion)

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