Why I love my job

I absolutely love my job. I love the variety. I love meeting a diverse bunch of fabulous people. I love being inspired by people I wouldn’t otherwise have met. I love the chance to try new things. Today I got all of them in one morning.

I spent this morning tweeting live from the See Beyond: blood borne virus conference we were hosting for the Terence Higgins Trust. I won’t go into details about the conference because you can see  #seebeyond. The main message seemed to be that it’s time for another campaign. The tomb stone campaign back in ’80s did more long-term damage than good. The public today still thinks that it’s a gay disease and that it’s a death sentence. Both these things lead to stigma and a reluctance to get tested. Both of these are wrong. HIV can affect any of us but if diagnosed early people go on to lead long and fulfilled lives.

The speakers were top-notch and we were in the safe hands of Lesley Riddoch who chaired the event. Two HIV+ guys, one also with HepC took part in a panel discussion. One is gay and contracted it through sexual contact, the other contracted them by sharing contaminated needles. He was a homeless drug addict at the point of his diagnosis but has turned his life around and is off the drugs and settled into family life. His main priority is staying well so he can look after his son. Both have suffered abuse because of their illness. They were an inspiration and put it very succinctly. HIV is not a disease, it’s a long-term illness like diabetes which, if not managed well can kill but otherwise is just something to live with.

It’s definitely time for a new campaign, alongside education, new legislation and humanising sufferers, rather than demonising them.

While I was hanging about during one of the sessions I spotted a lady at the back who I thought was just furiously writing notes but on closer inspection she was creating a piece of intricate art. Albi Taylor is a graphic facilitator and she was there, with a massive roll of paper, to document the whole conference in cartoon. The results were a bit like a static Prezi.

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It was fascinating to watch but as she worked I realised she was doing the same as me – looking for sound bites to capture the essence of the conference. I could actually map my tweets to her drawings. We’re holding a poverty conference soon so I’m looking into the possibility of working together with her at that. Watch this space . . .

In other news, MiniMe has a class election tomorrow so I’ve borrowed a proper ballot box for her to take in. I’ll be showing her the fine art of cable tying later but in the meantime MiniHim has found a new toy.

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Today I have learned:

  • conferences can be fun
  • HIV doesn’t have to be a death sentence
  • stigma is from the Greek and was used to describe the tattoos or burns that were given to criminals so they would be easily recognised

Today’s recipe:

Perfect-every-time Yorkshire Puds

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Ingredients

vegetable or sunflower oil

125 g plain flour

2 eggs

200mls milk

a sprinkling of whatever herbs you have in the fridge, chopped

Method – Heat the oven as high as it will go. Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of each dimple in a 12-hole muffin tin. Put the tin into the hot oven for 5 minutes.

In a wide measuring jug put the flour and the herbs. Crack the eggs into the jug you measured the milk in and mix together. Beat the milk into the flour a little at a time.

Remove the tin carefully and divide the batter between the 12 dimples. Put in the oven for 20 minutes.

These freeze well but generally they’re so good there will be none left.

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