PSHE Talk Review: Emma Cole

Positive Voice for HIV – Emma Cole, Thursday 17th January 2019

Since coming out as a HIV positive woman in 1991, Emma Cole has told her story to thousands of young people. Last week the Marlborough College Upper School were told Emma’s inspiring and truly admirable HIV tale. Remarkably, Emma has turned her life as an HIV ‘positive’ woman into her persona ‘A Positive Voice’, breaking the stigma and misconceptions around HIV transmission and the lives of those living with it.

Starting her talk with the story of how she contracted HIV, emphasising how it was in the simplest way possible, through nothing other than an honest accident. Emma opened our eyes into how the virus affects those living with it mentally and physically. The physical tolls are detrimental as we all knew but the mental and emotional issues that follow are often those which go unnoticed. Having been brought up in a very small town where many people were disapproving of her situation, Emma has nothing but excelled in her life achievements and left us all feeling inspirited and with a much more broadened attitude towards HIV and AIDs.

Successfully living with the disease for nearly 27 years Emma has smashed the 8-10 years that she was given to live in 1991. In her 26th year of living with HIV she ran all 26 miles of the London Marathon, proving how she can still do anything she puts her mind too. Although she describes her life to have been changed irrevocably, she has achieved many incredible things and has even followed her favourite musician Bruce Springsteen around the world in concert 69 times.

Emma not only told a very rare and emotive story, but she told it with such an educational passion. No one expects to be smiling in a talk about such a destructive illness, but it created an atmosphere of sheer fascination and left us all yearning to know more about those that had been part of Emma’s incredible life.

Tallulah Chukwuemeka (SU U6)

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