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Memories for World AIDS Day

by Lewis Stan Jacobs about a year ago in health
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Never forget.

1st December

Do you remember the 1980’s? I do, I was an 80’s kid. Whilst growing up in these times fills me with fond memories, the 80’s were also a time of miners striking, mass unemployment and those advertisements on the TV. Do you remember them? Those scary grey advertisements warning us about the dangers of A.I.D.S.

Before the 80’s we had no idea what it was and was showing up in many places under different names. It was called Slim because of its wasting effects and GRID (gay related immune disease) by different doctors though at the time no one knew what it really was.

There was a lot of ignorance surrounding A.I.D.S. such as it being a gay disease and being able to catch it from toilet seats. Also disclosing having H.I.V. or A.I.D.S. status or indeed being exposed came with fear, prejudice, scorn, isolation and loss of employment. People feared being around an infected person because they thought they would catch it just being around them. The infected person was in more danger being around others. Some people even said this was god’s punishment on gay men for their sins.

At the time it did seem that gay men, drug users and people who needed blood transfusions or blood products were more at risk of catching this disease. It soon became apparent that this was a disease that could affect everyone, sexuality had nothing to do with it. I remember people saying things like they felt sorry for people who contracted H.I.V. through no fault of their own, meaning they were not gay. However, it did take a while before much of the ignorance died away and in some cases still remains. Fear often causes us to warp reality and not face truths.

For me this was a personal experience. My brother had Haemophilia and at the time he had switched from a drug called cryoprecipitate onto a drug called Factor VIII. Both made from drug products and Factor VIII being the missing factor in a haemophiliacs blood that supports clotting. I remember my mum talking about a fatal blood disease that was affecting haemophiliacs at the time but I was too young to understand its impact. I do remember that it was before most had heard of A.I.D.S. Factor VIII was a huge step forward because it meant my mum could learn to administer it herself rather than being at the hospital all the time and it meant my brother could attend school on a more regular basis.

My brother was around 9 when he contracted H.I.V., still a child. What a cruel thing to be infected with a disease that would affect every part of his life before it had even begun. That said he did make the best of his life and did as much as he could with it.

He was stubborn, funny and a good uncle to my son. He loved sci fi films and I swear he knew them word for word. He would go fishing and he also kept fish at home. He had two significant relationships and with the latter helped to raise her two sons, they were a family.

He had been ill on and off for sometime and always seemed to recover. I was away for the weekend and while I was travelling we talked on the phone. He was trying to get a hospital bed but was unable. I couldn't help at the time but told him if he had not managed to get a bed I would come round and sort when I came home. He passed in his sleep aged 30.


About the author

Lewis Stan Jacobs



I am slowly building my own business which will offer hypnotherapy, reiki, tarot and coaching. At the moment I am offering tarot readings.

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