Philip Christopher Baldwin has long been a hard-working, tireless advocate for LGBT and HIV+ rights and education. He was diagosed with HIV in 2010. Since then, he has dedicated his efforts to fronting campaigns to end the stigma of those living with the condition. He is also a writer and has been included in multiple publications including the Huffington Post, Gay Times and our very own Vada.
I was humbled to attend his HIV Awareness Dinner last Thursday, in association with Positive East.
The event was held at Beaufort House, a beautiful restaurant space in upmarket Chelsea. The champagne was flowing and the guests mingling, including some famous faces from Made in Chelsea and TOWIE, model Imogen Thomas, Anthea Turner and the gorgeous Sandy Channer of Gogglebox.
Dinner was preceded by a moving speech by Philip about his experiences of being diagnosed with HIV. His passionate honesty in dealing with a dark time moved most of the guests to tears. However, there was light in his speech which he dedicated to his efforts in battling the stigma and barriers that affect those living with HIV, and to Positive East. He discussed his hopes for the future and for all HIV+ people.
We raised a glass to their work and tucked into our dinner, comprised of watermelon salad, goat’s cheese ravioli, miso baked salmon fillet, panna cotta and many other options. We also delved into our goodie bags which included products from Faith in Nature, Fred Thomas, Chroma Stationary and Dizen Clothing.
An event of this kind could be a sad affair but this was far from it. The energy and positivity highlighted the growing awareness of HIV and the activities of campaigners like Philip in challenging stigma.
It was an honour to represent Vada and to support Philip in his vital work.