NAYOKA OWARE [00:00:15] Hello and welcome to Technology for Marketing Live. We’re here at Olympia. I am Nayoka Oware, hosting for Disruptive Live and I am joined by the beautiful and bright Susan Cole who’s the patient and information marketing manager at NAM aidsmap. Welcome Susan, it’s great to see you again.
SUSAN COLE [00:00:33] Lovely to see you. And I’m thrilled to be here and you’re looking wonderful.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:00:40] So are you, I love your dress. So, Susan, tell us more about your role, what it is that you do.
SUSAN COLE [00:00:45] I’ve got a ridiculously long title, patient information, marketing and membership manager at NAM I’m essentially responsible for getting our messages about HIV to as wide an audience as possible. They take you on a bit of a journey. Say it. 30 years ago when Nam started, we were called National AIDS Manual because it was literally a great big manual all about HIV. And back then things were very different. There wasn’t any effective treatment. People were really hungry for information and what they could do. So we played a really important role since then. But how we’ve moved on has been incredible, really. And you guys have been incredible in helping us with Aidsmap live. We now have a live panel discussion about the latest issues around HIV. And it’s been extraordinary how many more people we’re engaging with. Before we went live, we were having people getting in touch from India and China and all around the world. So it’s proved to be really effective in getting our key messages across. But also having it in a much more accessible way, because sometimes people don’t want to necessarily like scroll through. And yet people are moving away from paper a lot we’re finding. And so technology has been really helpful for us.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:02:29] We want to know more about how HIV has changed. Because there used to be a lot of stigma attached to it. And I think it’s caused a lot of people to be misinformed or uninformed.
SUSAN COLE [00:02:39] Absolutely. HIV has changed hugely. I don’t know. You’re probably too young to remember the old don’t die of ignorance campaigns from the late 80s where they were literally great big tombstones in the ads. HIV was very much regarded as a death sentence. Yeah. And the reality today is that it’s so different. People with HIV can expect to live as long as anyone else. But that’s people that have access to treatment. And we’re really lucky in the UK that everyone has access to treatment. But the really important thing is that people test and find out that they have HIV so they can start treatment. And what’s really incredible as well is that when people are on effective treatment, which over 90 percent of the people in the UK are, they cannot pass the virus on. So I don’t know if I’m allowed to say sex on this show. Yes, But people can have people like an HIV positive person who has a negative partner. They don’t need to use a condom. If the person with HIV has an undetectable viral load because they cannot pass it on. That’s huge. That’s hugely important. And women with HIV can go on to have HIV negative children. So it’s it’s incredible how much we’ve moved on. And technology has played a really important role in getting that message across, our website Aidsmap. I think we get half a million visitors each month from around the world who are trying to find the latest information about HIV. And my chief exec, Matthew Hudson, was recently voted as a social CEO of the year. So he really harnesses technology, particularly Twitter, to get the most up to date messages around HIV. I mean, at the minute he does a lot of gym selfies. and he does lots of gym selfies. But really, it’s showing that, you know, someone like Matthew, who is 52 and living with HIV. He’s extraordinarily healthy and HIV does not limit people from living a full life. It’s not just about surviving with HIV, it’s about thriving. And it’s wonderful that tech can play that role.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:05:24] Absolutely. There are a lot more people talking about it on Twitter, especially, a lot of people are open about it if they are a carrier of the virus. But for those who may be too shy because of the sick stigma attached. I don’t want to use the word embarrassed because some people are made to feel that way. What would you say to those who haven’t been as open or can’t talk about it. What advice would you give to them?
SUSAN COLE [00:05:48] I would say that ultimately it’s entirely up to an individual whether who they want to tell when they want to tell someone. I don’t know if you’ve seen in the news recently about Gareth Thomas. I mean. It’s wonderful that he’s using his celebrity to get across really important messages. But what was awful was that he did that because people were blackmailing him, essentially, I believe. So, you know, which is awful because HIV, from the point of diagnosis, people are protected from being discriminated against. But I would say for people who are positive and are afraid, perhaps of coming out with that status. Ultimately, it’s up to you. But there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. HIV should not be a barrier to leading a wonderful life. And if anyone rejects you because of your HIV status, you just walk away from those losers, essentially, that you don’t want them in your life. Thank you so much. Thank you.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:06:53] It’s been a pleasure and hope to see you soon. Well, yes, unfortunately, that’s all we have time for to speak to you soon. Thank you for watching. We will be back shortly. Do not go away. You can join the conversation. Send us your comments. Message us. Use the hashtag TFM Live 2019. Hashtag Disruptive Live. See you shortly.