Nov 292021

Strip of red ribbon folded across itselfWorld AIDS Day takes place on 1st December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.

Head and shoulders photo of man, mid 30s, balding, and wearomg a b;ack and blue striped sweatshirt

Bill Ayres

One of the first people in the South West to have AIDS was Bill Ayres, owner of the Underground nightclub in Bath. In 1985 Bill appeared on Thames Television programme ‘TV Eye’ and spoke candidly about living with HIV and facing society’s suspicion, fear and misconceptions. He refused to conceal his identity or display any shame at being an out gay man despite virulent homophobia in the British media at that time.

The programme also featured Dr Stuart Glover who led the treatment of HIV patients at a specialist unit at Ham Green Hospital near Bristol.

The TV programme is available for free on the British Film Institute BFI Player.

Note: The BFI player does not support playback on the Linux operating system or Firefox browser on Android devices. For information on devices and operating systems, see BFI help ‘How do I watch films’.

  4 Responses to “1st December: World Aids Day”

  1. My brother Bill.
    His surname was Ayres – it seemed unimportant at the time that Thames made a small error with his name. What was important was what he said.
    When he died at Ham Green Hospital in 1986 things really hadn’t changed that much – even after all the assurances from John Patten !
    He died in a small room in the infectious diseases unit attended – in the main – by nurses who felt at risk from him.
    Never ever saw his Consultant even though we (my parents and myself) asked repeatedly to see him.

    Poor Bill – his death from liver failure came as a relief after all his suffering.

    • John was Bills story ever followed up by anyone? TV Eye for example, or press.

      • Hi Matt,
        I’m not sure. There could have been attempts at a follow up – Bill just didn’t say !

        Instead he concentrated his efforts on just attempting to stay alive and be as well as he could.

        All the best,


    • I met Bill; he was a courageous kind man. Sorry for your loss, John.

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