Blogpost by Max Maycroft, Sexual Health Outreach Worker
Marc Thompson is an activist, and health promotion specialist, who has been involved in HIV activism since the 1980s, working to address the lack of services available with a focus on Black gay men. He is a co-founder of PrEPster, BLKOUT and co-director of The Love Tank CIC, and through his work with PrEPster, pushed for PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis – a drug that reduces the risk of getting HIV in HIV-negative people) to be made available on the NHS.
Marc has been living with HIV since his diagnosis in 1986 – one year after he came out as gay at age 16 – at a time where the future of those diagnosed with HIV was uncertain and the public were just becoming aware of the epidemic. This led to him working and volunteering in sexual health – working with Terence Higgins Trust, Big Up, and Positively UK and eventually leading to the founding of PrEPster; which “aims to educate and agitate for PrEP access in England and beyond”. It was identified that there was a distinct lack of awareness and quality information about PrEP, and particularly to minority and intersecting groups including MSM, BAME communities, migrants, the trans community and sex workers.
I feel it’s important to pay tribute to Black, queer people that have made and continue to make a difference in the UK this Black History Month, and there’s no doubt that Marc Thompson’s work has directly contributed to the UK’s approach to HIV prevention; through access to PrEP and education about U=U (Undetectable = Untransmissable). As it stands, Black gay men are still disproportionately affected with regards to HIV, face barriers – yet still underrepresented.