Central to the stories from the AIDS pandemic will always be the LGBTQ+ community, but our work is wholly diverse, reflecting the experiences of men, women, trans, gay and straight, of all races, UK born and migrant. It also reflects the experiences of those infected through blood transfusion and drug addiction.
That’s why we have already filmed and transcribed 120 in-depth, broadcast quality interviews with them, to create the largest filmed archive of HIV related testimony in the UK. That amounts to over 200 hours of first person testimony of the age, and we plan to collect many more stories from people affected by HIV and AIDS over time. By achieving all this we continue to advance our social history.
While one of our aims is to create a feature film and other productions from the interviews, we also want to preserve them in their entirety for future generations. That’s why we have teamed up with the London Metropolitan Archive, the largest County office in the UK, to preserve the materials in perpetuity. The first 40 from the collection of film interviews are now available for researchers, historians and the public, with 80 more to follow in March 2023. They are subtitled and fully searchable across the collection, representing a massive resource that will be available for the next 1000 years.
Find out how to arrange access to the archive here.
The stories of those involved are already in danger of being forgotten, yet the epidemic is the most significant event in modern day LGBTQ+ life and continues to affect this community today. It changed the way that people were cared for and died and we owe a great amount to the activists from that time. Put simply, the AIDS pandemic probably advanced gay rights more than anything else in history and many of the freedoms the LGBTQ+ community enjoy today are due to the changes the AIDS pandemic ignited.
The project charts not only a key and tragic part of LGBTQ+ history, but of our society’s shared history through activism and the many acts of compassion and love. The HIV crisis cut into every kind of life, and the aftershocks reverberate on to this day.
Our ultimate aim is to preserve the stories and ensure they reach as wide an audience as possible, while supporting the work of HIV and AIDS charities.
The feature film is at the heart of the NHST’s work.
After filming over 100 interviews telling the full story of the HIV and AIDS pandemic, we donated our collection to the London Metropolitan Archive where it is being made publicly available and will exist in perpetuity as a public resource. This archive continues to grow as more people share their incredible stories.
The history of HIV and AIDS is being forgotten, while younger generations understand little of the pandemic. As a result ignorance and stigma still surrounds HIV. The NHST can provide educational speakers for your organisation, including schools, colleges, business and the media.
The NHST is dedicated to not only honouring those who did not survive but using the lessons we’ve learnt to support those living with HIV today. We place centre stage the survivors still here who are entering later life, many of whom did not expect to survive or make provision for old age.
The power of storytelling is how art brings history to life. Many of our interviewees have spoken about the pleasure they found in artistic pursuit. Learn more about how we have supported the arts through our work, helping to raise public awareness of HIV and of the NHST’s work.
Your generous support helps us to secure, preserve and protect the stories of the HIV and AIDS pandemic. In doing so, we can ensure the stories continue to be retold to younger generations, including through the arts and education.