One of the first people in the UK known to have died from the AIDS virus

HIV Terry Higgins Trust poster

The famous charity was originally called the Terry Higgins Trust after one of the first people in the UK known to have died from the AIDS virus, which was only identified the previous year.  The lovely people at Terrence Higgins Trust, Gray’s Inn Road, London let me take a photograph of my HIV virus against their well known sign.

Terrence Higgins 3.jpg


Volunteer worker at the Terrence Higgins Trust reception desk with my ceramic virus next to the THT collection box.


The Trust aims to end the transmission of HIV in the UK; to support and empower people living with HIV; to eradicate stigma and discrimination around HIV; and to promote good sexual health.  Terrence Higgins Trust is generally considered the UK’s leading HIV and AIDS charity,  and the largest in Europe. It is also the lead organisation for Public Health England’s HIV prevention partnership HIV Prevention England.

Posted in HIV

Memorialising HIV in the 1980’s and my own memorial sculpture

In the mid 1980’s, there was intense media focus on this new disease with no known cure. People were afraid that you could ‘catch AIDS’ from Communion wine. Afraid that you could catch HIV from sharing communal baths. At this time, an estimated 7,500 people had been diagnosed with HIV in Britain.


This is the picture that is widely considered to have changed the face of AIDS. It showed AIDS victims as humans and people with families. The biggest opponents of doing anything about AIDS, anything at all, were those trumpeting family values. This picture showed that HIV has everything to do with family values.

My own sculptural response to HIV and AIDS is a bunch of ceramic HIV virus flowers, deadly but strangely beautiful and spewing from a male pee pot.   The male receptacle is used as a symbol to indicate that in the early stages of the history of the disease more men than women had HIV and our abiding image of HIV campaigners in the 1980’s is of articulate, media savvy gay men, but these days, because of complex reasons there are equal numbers of women and men who have the disease.


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“Shut down our clinics and we’ll shut down your church”

One of the first steps in making the private grief public is the ritual of memorials. I have loved the way memorials take the absence of a human being and make them somehow physical with the use of sound. I have attended a number of memorials in the last five years and at the last one I attended I found myself suddenly experiencing something akin to rage.


David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night

Posted in HIV

The HIV and AIDS virus


Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body’s ability to fight the organisms that cause disease. HIV is a sexually transmitted infection.

My own ceramic representation of HIV shows the virus protruding from a pee pot.  The single virus below shows its perfect, geometric structure.

HIV - Human Immunodeficiency Virus…/syc-20373524

Posted in HIV