Photograph from Guardian by Gideon Mendel

Gay men were dying of AiDS at a terrifying rate

Article from the Guardian Newspaper:

Steven and I were neighbours in Deptford, south London; although he was never my partner, he was, in a way, the love of my life. Every time I got home and switched on the lights, my landline would ring: “Why am I being neglected?” he would say, in his strong Belfast accent.


The Broderip ward at the Middlesex hospital was the first dedicated Aids ward in London. It was opened in 1987 by Princess Diana. In 1993, before effective medications were available, gay men were dying of Aids at a terrifying rate. There was a lot of hostility and fear about the disease; families of young men often rejected them. Broderip and its sister ward, Charles Bell, became places of warmth and love for the patients, and the nursing staff were like their family. The rooms were home-like, with subdued lighting and duvets. The nursing staff greeted patients with hugs. It was a new way of nursing, and incredibly forward-thinking for its time. I worked there for five years as a shiatsu massage therapist, supporting the nursing team.

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