Vanessa Redgrave joins Mildmay’s ‘healthy eating’ workshop for HIV patients

PUBLISHED: 12:58 10 February 2015 | UPDATED: 13:02 10 February 2015

Vanessa Redgrave tours Mildmay HIV hospital with its fundraiser Reeves-Kneip and medical director Dr Simon Rackstraw

Vanessa Redgrave tours Mildmay HIV hospital with its fundraiser Reeves-Kneip and medical director Dr Simon Rackstraw

Mildmay Hosp

Vanessa Redgrave has met HIV patients on a visit to the famous Mildmay Hospital in London’s East End.

HIV—the facts

Latest statistics show 107,800 people lived with HIV in the UK in 2013, including one-in-four unaware of their condition and at risk of becoming sick and needing acute care. Those diagnosed late have a 10-fold increased risk of dying in the first year following diagnosis, compared to those diagnosed early.

The award-winning actress toured wards and treatment areas of the specialist hospital in Shoreditch where she met in-patients, staff and volunteers.

“This visit means so much to me,” she said. “I didn’t know how much it meant to me until I got here.”

Redgrave joined day-service patients in their workshop on healthy eating, before touring the Mildmay’s new state-of-the art facilities.

Hospital fundraising director Kerry Reeves-Kneip said: “We knew she was keen to visit Mildmay and find out more about our specialist work—but her visit surpassed our expectations.”

The new complex has reopened on its old site off Columbia Road, behind Shoreditch Church, where the original Victorian mission hospital opened in 1866 in response to the cholera epidemic sweeping the slums of the East End.

The Mildmay responded again in 1988 to the escalating Aids world crisis and became the first HIV hospice in Europe.

Now its work has moved from exclusive hospice care to rehabilitation, thanks to life-saving medication such as anti-retrovirals, with eight-out-of-10 patients returning to independent living when they’re discharged.

The hospital, which marks its 150th anniversary next year, reopened in September after extensive rebuilding and refitting.

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