Juxtaposition, which carries the strapline ‘a safe sex fable for our times’, was written in the autumn of 2013 to highlight the alarming increase in the number of gay men living in London testing positive for HIV.
As of November 2015 (the last complete year’s data reported by NAM), although the number of gay men who have HIV without knowing it has declined in recent years, the United Kingdom’s HIV epidemic in gay men continues unabated. Incidence (the rate of new infections) remains high, new diagnoses are higher than ever before and prevalence (total number of people living with HIV) is also up.
Across the UK, one in 20 gay men is living with HIV; in London, one in eleven.
The story remains just as relevant now (December 2016) as it was back in 2013.
In Juxtaposition, Emile tells his story, his encounter with Ben, who infects him with HIV. This story is simple and carries the obvious message. However, it was not written to demonise unsafe sexual practices; whether you play safe or not is your personal choice and responsibility. Please just think about the potential consequences.
Be in no doubt, Juxtaposition does not have a happy ending, however, it is just as much about the relationship between Emile and his best friend Kristie - a story about the nature and value of friendship and compassion - and those themes are just as, if not more, important as any other message you will find in this story.
Juxtaposition also gave rise to a video-based art project titled Juxtaposition - an abstraction, which was the output of a collaboration between myself, Roy Allen and Hal Sinden/Eulogy Media. The work was screened worldwide as part of the 2016 HIVideo event organised by Balaclava.Q in support of Art for World Aids Day.
Juxtaposition - an abstraction can be viewed on YouTube
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