‘I’m not a fighter, I’m a normal guy who would like to see the end of HIV’
Joan is a proud advocate and supporter of the It Starts With Me campaign, and as a passionate filmmaker he’s using his voice and his work to help make a difference in the way people think about protecting themselves from HIV.
‘See the world, change the world. We have to lead the change instead of just waiting for it to happen. We can write a new page in LGBT history if we play safe, if we know our status, and we are responsible. It has to start with us.’
Originally living in Spain, Joan now leads a happy and successful life in Manchester, and as no stranger to the LGBT+ scene he urges his peers on the importance of personal responsibility. ‘It is in our hands. Nobody can force us to be safe and use protection. It’s us that have the power to bring a stop to HIV.’
‘People think it’s negative to talk about getting tested, but I think it’s great. In the same way people take care to talk about their bodies and their food – why can’t we speak about our status?’
There may still be a negative stigma associated with HIV, but Joan believes this is outdated and is a proud and outspoken ambassador for the campaign.
‘My family and friends weren’t surprised that I took part in this campaign. They know I like to live a healthy lifestyle, and getting tested is part of that. It’s something I encourage everyone to do.’
‘I think people have forgotten how bad HIV was. We don’t like to think about the past, we’re too focussed on the present. That’s why I think the It Starts With Me campaign is so important. We still need that reminder so that we can create a better future.’
The idea of striving for a better future is something that runs passionately through everything Joan does. He has a deep respect for LGBT+ history and is determined to use his influence to improve the lives of his peers.
‘My new project is about focussing on the past and the present to look for a better future. Talking to LGBT+ people has made me realise how lucky we are to be able to hold hands in the street, go out to gay clubs, and have good safe sex.’