Observing the 1980s
Ward, Paul (Part 1 of 2). HIV/AIDS Testimonies
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Interviewee's home, London
Ward, Paul, 1962- (speaker, male)
Rickard, Wendy (speaker, female)
Part 1: Born Doncaster. Recalls earliest childhood memory 1964. Mentions little knowledge of grandparents [03:08]. Description of Mother [06:14]. Description of Father's background [7:38] [Break. Upset], character and career in railways [9:21]. Description of childhood family homes and mention of sister. Brief description of family holidays, hobbies, childhood friends. Description of schools and education [17:49]. Stories of activities with friends Ian, Jonathan and Andrew, home life, academic interests. Mentions bullying in secondary school. Recalls family life;; no car, had TV, saw moon landing, share of domestic activity in home, family meals, birthdays. Description of friends and hobbies: gardening, history and music [26:00]. Setting up mobile disco, paper round, spending money. Description of awareness of gay sexuality emerging from 1972. Description of higher education: A-levels then Birmingham University. Ambitions in motor industry [36:00]. University 1980-3, studying economics and social history. Description of other student activities -editing student paper, secretary of student union. Involvement in politics, joining SDP campaign, ideas that became fore-runners for next Labour administration. Move to Wandsworth Common with SDP colleagues [45:40]. Description of living in Brixton during riots -volunteering services at Kings [47:40]. Description of decision to start working in the NHS as general management trainee at Bromley Hospital. Story of start of 1983 relationship with TV presenter. Meeting other gay men. Pattern of management training, move to health centre, mental health services, one year working at St Giles Hospital, Camberwell. Story of managing the reprovision of services and people with mental health problems from Surrey to South London [58:20]. Description of housing and moving into a gay house share, joining a gay youth group, socialising, gay clubs (Heaven and Bang). Story of work in hospital radio and pirate radio, Skyline Radio [01:00:00]. Description of way HIV was portrayed by the gay media from 1982-community crisis and complete ignorance. First HIV memories -1982. Description of contracting chicken pox in June 1984 and HIV health fears. Mention of Miners Strike. Mention of HIV becoming omnipresent for gay people. Description of 1986 first personal contact with HIV and 1984 first professional contact. Early response from NHS[01:09:00]. Story of personal assimilation of HIV. Description of casual sex and HIV awareness. Story of trip to Amsterdam 1985. Mention of meeting Nick Partridge. Story of move to Dulwich Hospital June 1985, admission of HIV+ person and response of hospital staff [01:13:40]. Mention of media coverage at the time -hysterical, after death of Rock Hudson. Mention of progressive awareness of people dying. Story of death of Mark Ashton and gay community outpouring of grief [01:16:28]. Memory of impact of Jonathan Grimshaw's public stand on HIV in 1986. Description of start of new relationship with Martin in 1985 (pause). Mention of social life, bars visited, Martin's background and first NHS job 1989[01:23:36]. Description of contact with family and telling family about being gay[01;26:03]. Description of men in house share and social life together centring on Prince of Wales, Brixton. Recreational drinking, no drugs and dancing. Description of average night out. Description of move into squat with M in Islington, 1986, then to council flat and decision to buy flat in Peckham 1987. Description of time spent with partner, shopping, travelling, bars, alternative cinema, favourite restaurants [01:33:00]. Mention of HIV test 1988 for mortgage - never got result. Story of one incident of unprotected sex, subsequent 2 month illness. Story of crying uncontrollably on New Year's Eve 1988. Sudden increased visibility of HIV and personal impact. Decision to adopt healthy living. Discussion of not wanting to know HIV status. Description of avoiding HIV test until 1994 when became ill. Symptoms stomach ache, headaches, collapsing in Oxford Street. AIDS diagnosis 15-09-1994 [01:41:31]. Description of daily life 1988 to 1994, change of jobs, becoming one of Directors of Health Service. Recalls first close friend who died of HIV related illness. Description of voluntary work with partner at FoodChain. Increased professional contact with HIV through responsibility for commissioning services for HIV. Discussion of Conservative's track record on HIV. Personal involvement in getting HIV services in place. Huge sense of loss. Description of vast sums of public money made available for HIV. Mention of rise of voluntary sector and pressure to spend money]: Landmark, Immunity, Black HIV and AIDS Network [[01:49:51]. Stories of passing driving test, first car and driving holidays around Europe, moving house and gardening. Description of HIV films and documentaries watched. Interest in DerekJarman [01:56:00]. Story of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma operation at King Hospital and chemotherapy. Anecdote of wheelchair in supermarket. Story of Mother's knowledge of P's HIV. Description of being on general ward and then HIV ward. Story of blood clot from Hickman Line, consultant's response and treatment [02:05:28] (crying -appreciation of consultant). Concerns about stigma of being on HIV ward and experience of people on ward [02:09:36]. Description of relationship with hospital staff on specialist wards. Description of impact of P's illness on partner Martin [02:14:00]. Travelling with HIV medications and illness. Description of writing wills. Mention of Martin's HIV test and negative diagnosis. Disappointment with Foodchain personal support to Martin during P's illness. Description of May 1995 return to work and brilliant response from employer: shock to corporate psyche, decision to work part time. Delayed period of psychological adjustment, ill health retirement from Health Authority March 1996. Start of writing and then became editor on Positive Nation for one year (voluntary post). Description of start of HIV activism in the NHS around treatment availability, access and advocacy and start of involvement with Terrence Higgins Trust (THT). Description of pride in achievements with Positive Nation at optimistic time -HIV ceased being a death sentence. Story of magazine funding and help from THT and Glaxo-Wellcome. Similar publication in USA.
Interviewed for the HIV/AIDS Testimonies project