G-A-Y Bar & 56 Dean St World AIDS Day HIV Testing & Balloon Memorial

01/01/15: Continuing their great work to raise funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, as well as raise awareness of HIV, last Monday G-A-Y again partnered with the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s 56 Dean Street clinic to provide free and instant HIV testing all day long for World AIDS Day.

From 12noon until 9pm the mobile clinic was parked outside G-A-Y Bar on Old Compton Street and there was a constant flow of people seeing health advisors and finding out their status. Knowing your own status is essential and allows you to plan to look after not only your own health, but also the health of your partners.

With Dean Street’s lead clinician Dr Alan McOwan on hand as well as clinic manager Leigh, the lovely nurse Jake and a whole host of other nurses, advisors and staff, all visitors were made to feel relaxed and welcome before being taken in to a private booth for testing.

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An amazing 340 people were given the information allowing them to better look after their health. While Dean Street’s two clinics are central and easily accessible, an event that brings HIV testing in to a popular venue, especially one with a younger demographic like G-A-Y, is essential for raising awareness and prompting people to think about HIV.

To close the event, at 10pm everyone moved out on to Old Compton Street for a memorial balloon release that saw the sky turn red as hundreds of balloons with the names of people we wished to remember soared upwards.

And once again G-A-Y donated £10 for every person testing raising a magnificent £3,400 for EJAF. A further £2k is expected to come in from G-A-Y Late an Popcorn, too! A hearty congratulations to the huge team that made this such a successful day, from Jeremy Joseph and the G-A-Y team to everyone at 56 Dean Street and all the visitors.

G-A-Y Bar, 30 Old Compton Street, Soho, W1D 4UR
Words and photos Chris Jepson

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