The xx’s Oliver Sim has shared about being diagnosed with HIV at the age of 17, in a statement alongside new track ‘Hideous’
Sim, who found fame as bass guitarist and singer of The xx, shared a statement via Instagram while announcing new solo track ‘Hideous,’ which is set feature on his forthcoming solo debut album, Hideous Bastard, due September 9.
“I’ve been living with HIV since I was 17 and it’s played with how I’ve felt towards myself, and how I’ve assumed others have felt towards me, from that age and into my adult life,” Sim, 31, wrote.
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Hideous, which is produced by Jamie xx and features Jimmy Somerville, explores the impact his diagnosis had on him and the feelings of shame he experienced after.
“I haven’t written the record to dwell, Sim said, “but rather to free myself of some of the shame and fear that I’ve felt for a long time. So, I hear a lot of the music as joyous, because the experience of writing and recording it has been the complete opposite of what fear and shame have been for me.”
Ian Green, CEO of the UK’s leading HIV & sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, praised Sim for sharing his status, saying:
“Oliver’s exploration of the shame he felt following his HIV diagnosis in his debut solo material will have a huge impact. The song ‘Hideous’ is a powerful insight into the shame and internalised stigma many of us living with HIV experience where we pre-empt other people’s opinions of us to the detriment of our mental health and wellbeing.
“As Oliver shows, you can now live a long, healthy life with HIV and a diagnosis doesn’t have to stop you from achieving your dreams. But that doesn’t mean that diagnosis is an easy one to receive and why we must continue to do the work required to end the stigma still surrounding HIV. No one living with HIV should feel hideous or lesser, but too often we know that is the case.
“We’re sure that many more people will find out about the incredible progress that’s been made in preventing, testing for and treating HIV because of Oliver. Including that we can say with absolute confidence that someone living with HIV and on effective treatment can’t pass it on to their partners.
“But, as Oliver’s song shows, stigma remains a huge issue for people living with HIV and has a significant negative impact on wellbeing, sex and relationships. It also stops others from coming forward to get tested and access life-changing treatment. That’s why it’s so important we’re all working towards a world free of HIV stigma – because only then will we also be able to end new HIV transmissions.”
Check out the video for Hideous below:
NEW: Today Oliver Sim from @The_xx has shared for the first time his HIV diagnosis at 17.
Oliver’s track Hideous explores the impact of his diagnosis on him and the feelings of shame he experienced.
Here’s his brilliant message from Instagram. pic.twitter.com/EHXIr28OT2
— Terrence Higgins Trust (@THTorguk) May 23, 2022