Living and Loving In the Age of AIDS, Derek Frost ( paperback, April 2021)
This is the tale of a devastating pandemic, of lives cut painfully short - it's also a love story. Derek, a distinguished designer, and J, a pioneering entrepreneur and creator of Heaven, the iconic gay dance club, met and fell in love more than 40 years ago. In the early 1980s their friends began to get sick and die - AIDS had arrived in their lives.
When they got tested, J received what was then a death sentence: he was HIV Positive. While the onset of AIDS strengthened stigma and fear globally, they confronted their crisis with courage, humour and an indomitable resolve to survive. J's battle lasted six long years.
Turning to spiritual reflection, yoga, nature - and always to love - Derek describes a transformation of the spirit, how compassion and empathy rose phoenix-like from the flames of sickness and death, and how he and J founded the charity Aids Ark, which has helped to save more than 1,000 HIV Positive lives. This is a story of joy and triumph, of facing universal challenges, of the great rewards that come from giving back. Derek speaks for a generation who lived through a global health crisis that many at the time refused even to acknowledge.
Linda says ... if you liked It's A Sin, the powerful BBC drama about coming of age in the 1980's, you will enjoy this. All the more resonant since living through the Covid pandemic.