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And this was 30 years ago this very day! The world of HIV was very different back then. Thanks to people like Princess Diana, she managed to take a massive swipe at the whole social disease of stigma, especially as affecting people living with both HIV infection and AIDS defining illnesses.
In an unprecedented move, as of summer 2016, the British Royal Family website carries a number of stories about people living with HIV. HRH The Prince Harry recently delivered an inspirational speech at the Worlds AIDS Conference, in Durban, South Africa, in which he said:
“We cannot lose a sense of urgency, because despite all the progress we have made, HIV remains among the most pressing and urgent of global challenges.”
It is great to see Harry carrying on a cause that his late Mother championed so well. Of course, Diana wasn’t the only Royal to visit and get involved with people living with HIV, but she was the most visible, the most iconic, and therefore the one with the greatest international ‘clout’ for raising HIV awareness, and challenging both HIV and AIDS-related stigmas.
I recount a trilogy of fond memories that I have, of seeing Her Late Royal…
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As children, we would get some old clothes, stuff them with newspapers, and make them into a “Guy”. “Penny for the Guy, please, Mister!”
With so many of the epoch-changing events that might happen during a person’s lifetime, the fall of the Berlin Wall (Berlin Mauerfall) must rank as one such major world event to have happened in my own life, as for all of us who lived through those days.
For the full blog, click here: This is the year!
Some of my WordPress pages have been discovered – twice – by filming companies! The first, resulted in an interview with the wonderful Rupert Everett. Then, in the week I celebrated my 30th anniversary of starting as a nurse on an HIV ward, I was interviewed for a documentary series on the Royal House of Windsor.
You can see the full story here: TV interview: Princess Diana and HIV
Sunday 24th September, 1989. That was the first day of the rest of my life! I started on an HIV in-patient service, at St Mary’s Paddington, the very next day. The experience changed my life and set me up for what happened seven months later: April, 1990. Being interviewed for my first teaching post, just after cremating a patient, that one day led to the start of my career in teaching. The first post was as a lecturer-practitioner in “HIV and AIDS”; numerous posts since then, leading now to professor in sexualities and genders: health and well-being. Here’s what happened, from Rome 2018.
With the final funds from my National Teaching Fellowship award, I planned on going to Rome, for an HIV nursing conference. I saw this grey haired man with a little dog, something like one of mine. So I smiled at the dog, then said “Buongiorno, Signore” to him. When he told me he was a professor, I burst with excitement as I told him I had just become one, too!