The word Aids we are all familliar with,
but do we really know and understand, or is it just a word?
I would like to dedicate this day to my cousin Leslie, and to all people
man, woman and child present and past who are HIV+.
met her boyfriend in Edinburgh, UK ( in the late 1980's Edin. was the
Aids capital of Europe), she was 19. They fell in love, she lost her virginity
to him. Thinking that this man would love and protect her she agreed to
not use a condom.
Leslie moved to London, and started out
on a bright career. When she was 21 she tested positive for HIV, after
being informed by her ex lover. I can not begin to imagine what she went
through, she found support through her friends. She told no one in our
family. Why? I do not know I can only begin to imagine that it was to
do with the stigma of Aids, fear of rejection.
In 1994 Leslie became sick, her immune system
was very low, she thought she was going to pass away. Her dad went to
London to see her. She told my uncle, who being a good old fashioned Scot,
freaked. He told no one too, not even her mum. Leslie got better and was
A couple more years passed before she became
sick again. This time though she knew was going to be the last, as she
had become a Jehovah Witness, and did not want any treatment. She wanted
to return to Edinburgh. By this time she didn't give a shit about what
It came as a shock to the family that she
was HIV+, she thought this would send everyone running away. The response
she got was overwhelming for her, we were all there for her, aunts, uncles
,cousins, grandparents etc. We all love her. Leslie was with us for six
months, and for six months we got to show her how much we love her. She
was 26 when she passed away. Thanks to the great facilities of the Fairmilehead
Hospice in Edinburgh, her time was the best it could be.
Leslie was a fun and loving person, who
always gave to other people. The worst tragedy is silence because of the
stigma. We can not let people suffer in silence, we need to show them
that we love them unconditionally.