World Aids Day

Three memories.  A children’s ward in a hospital which I visited in New York in 1989.  All the babies were HIV positive.  Visiting San Francisco as a family in 1996.  We were following the Rough Guide and ended up at the Baghdad Cafe in the Castro District – not realising that it was the centre of the gay community.  It was a time of real crisis for that community but it was striking how dignified – and how everyday ordinary – the life of the community was.  Visiting Ulster Carpets’ factory in Durban, South Africa in 2003.  Across the road from the factory gate was a coffin shop in a 40 foot steel container.  The HIV rate was running at about 38% in KwaZuluNatal at that time.