Well this morning I woke up wondering what I would be doing for World Aids Day this year. I knew that unlike the last two years I would not be getting up really early to travel to Newcastle to speak in Assembly in Shimna Integrated College, whose Gay Straight Alliance collected money and gave out red ribbons in past years. So I missed my chat with Shirley McMillan who drove to Belfast to give me a lift there.
I also missed my friends in Positive Life and The Rainbow Project who I know will be out doing all sorts of things to mark the day in Northern Ireland. I was not intending on doing any media work, for once, so I got up, made my way down to outside the ICC in Main Street and joined my friends Sandra and Nathan from the GHA to hand out red ribbons to raise awareness.
Sometime later, Dr John Cortes, MP, Gibraltar’s health minister arrived, and we made sure that he had a red ribbon on.
Then, not totally unexpectedly, a news crew arrived from Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation. After much discussion in general, someone asked about medication, and I said it was much better than it had been. What did I mean, I was asked, and I said, that my tablets were now one a day. The reporter looked surprised, and I volunteered to run back to the house and get mine to show them. This done, it was somewhat inevitable that I should end up speaking to camera.
World Aids Day is a very strange day, it is a mixture of many emotions: staying positive to raise awarenes, yet a day tinged with sadness as we remember all our friends and others who are no longer here because of what Andrew called earlier, “a vile virus”. But it is the positivity that wins in the end. So a thank you to Andrew for being there, and for supporting as he has for the last four years, I cannot believe that he has been by my side for most of me knowingly living with HIV, but he has.
Andrew and I have a few ideas for some support for people living with HIV here on the Rock, we will be working with others, so watch this space. Or watch out on Facebook!