"My middle sister Nerys passed away. She was 32 and she was HIV positive."
On May 20th 2009 my middle sister Nerys passed away. She was 32 and she was HIV positive, although we didn't know this until the night that she died. She was admitted to hospital with pneumonia and passed away three weeks later. The consultant who broke the news of her HIV status believed she had been living with HIV for over five years.
The world stopped when Nerys died. She was such a loud and vibrant character. The manner in which she died and the drama that followed was horrendous. She had suffered with her health for years. She had been a hospital and GP regular but not once did they think to test for HIV.
When I found out she had HIV, in that split second it took for Mum to tell me, everything went dark. Not only did I have to deal with the fact that Nerys had AIDS, I also had to deal with my own prejudice, fears and confused feelings. I grew up in the 80’s so I knew what HIV/AIDS was, but I never dreamt it would get so up close and personal. At the end of the day she was my sister; her having HIV didn’t come into it. She was my little sister and I just wanted her to get better.
In the UK alone nearly 25% of people with HIV have no idea they have it and just under half of those people will be diagnosed too late for treatment to work.
My sister was one of those people. People think it won't happen to them but it can. HIV doesn't discriminate; if you don't take your well-being seriously it could happen to you.