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Hidden Histories of HIV

  • Free
  • Seminar
  • Speech-to-text
  • Hearing loop
Two speakers are seated on a small stage. They are in a room with white walls, speaking in front of an audience who are seated on several rows of chairs.
Discussion event in The Forum, Thomas SG Farnetti. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).

In this recording, two cultural historians, Dr Hannah Elizabeth and Dr Janet Weston share their research recovering the hidden histories of people affected during the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Their work unearths the stories of those often missing from mainstream narratives about HIV in the UK and Europe, such as people living and working in prisons, drug users, mothers and children, sex workers and social workers.

You will learn how Hannah Elizabeth and Janet Weston’s research has been inspired by the archives and collections here at Wellcome Collection. A selection of our HIV/AIDS posters is available to view online.

The content includes swearing, images of naked bodies, and images of drug use.

The talk is facilitated by HIV activist and health communications professional Paul Steinberg.

This event took place in our building and on our YouTube channel.



Need to know


We’ll be in the Forum. To get there, take the lift or stairs up to level 1 and then follow the signs through the ‘Being Human’ gallery.

Place not guaranteed

Booking a ticket for a free event does not guarantee you a place. You should aim to arrive 15 minutes before the event is scheduled to start to claim your place. If you do not arrive on time, your place may be given to someone on the waiting list.

Waiting list

If this event is fully booked, you may still be able to attend. We will operate a waiting list, which opens 30 minutes before this event starts. Arrive early, and we’ll give you a numbered ticket. If there are any unfilled places just before the start time, we will invite you to enter in order of ticket number.


Booking a ticket guarantees you entry to the online event. You will be given joining instructions in your confirmation email.


This event will be live-transcribed, which may be useful for people who are D/deaf, hard of hearing, deafened or neurodivergent. The captions will be displayed on a large screen in-venue. Ticketholders for the livestream will receive a link to view the captions in a separate window.

Hearing loop

There will be a hearing loop at this event.

For more information, please visit our Accessibility page. If you have any queries about accessibility, please email us at access@wellcomecollection.org or call 0 2 0. 7 6 1 1. 2 2 2 2

Our event terms and conditions

About your contributors

Hannah Elizabeth


Dr Hannah Elizabeth is a research fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and a cultural historian of health, sexuality and childhood in Britain. They are currently working on a Wellcome-funded fellowship investigating how HIV-affected people built and maintained families in Edinburgh and influenced national and international policy and practice through daily acts of love, care, and activism. Their most recent publication from the project is ‘Recovering Mothers’ Experiences of HIV/AIDS Health Activism in Edinburgh, 1983–2000’. They have published widely on the history of British public-health education and teenage sexual health.

Black and white photograph of Janet Weston

Janet Weston


Dr Janet Weston is an assistant professor in the Centre for History in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is interested in histories of health in modern Britain, particularly in relation to mental illness, sexuality, population health, and the law. She has researched and written about the history of HIV/AIDS in prisons, and edited with Hannah Elizabeth the collection ‘Histories of HIV/AIDS in Western Europe: new and regional perspectives’. Her latest book is ‘Looking After Miss Alexander: Care, Mental Capacity, and the Court of Protection in Mid-Twentieth-Century England’.

Black and white photograph of Paul Steinberg

Paul Steinberg


Paul Steinberg is communications professional currently working for the NHS in Greater Manchester. He has been an HIV-prevention activist and campaigner for over 20 years and, until last year, he was the Lead Commissioner and Director of the London HIV Prevention Programme where, in 2015, he devised and led the public-facing HIV awareness campaign ‘Do It London’. Originally trained as a broadcast journalist, he worked at the BBC for a number of years before joining the NHS, and is a regular guest lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on social marketing and public health.