Dear All,

The word Aids we are all familliar with, but do we really know and understand, or is it just a word?
I would like to dedicate this day to my cousin Leslie, and to all people man, woman and child present and past who are HIV+.

Leslie met her boyfriend in Edinburgh, UK ( in the late 1980's Edin. was the Aids capital of Europe), she was 19. They fell in love, she lost her virginity to him. Thinking that this man would love and protect her she agreed to not use a condom.

Leslie moved to London, and started out on a bright career. When she was 21 she tested positive for HIV, after being informed by her ex lover. I can not begin to imagine what she went through, she found support through her friends. She told no one in our family. Why? I do not know I can only begin to imagine that it was to do with the stigma of Aids, fear of rejection.

In 1994 Leslie became sick, her immune system was very low, she thought she was going to pass away. Her dad went to London to see her. She told my uncle, who being a good old fashioned Scot, freaked. He told no one too, not even her mum. Leslie got better and was doing ok.

A couple more years passed before she became sick again. This time though she knew was going to be the last, as she had become a Jehovah Witness, and did not want any treatment. She wanted to return to Edinburgh. By this time she didn't give a shit about what people thought.

It came as a shock to the family that she was HIV+, she thought this would send everyone running away. The response she got was overwhelming for her, we were all there for her, aunts, uncles ,cousins, grandparents etc. We all love her. Leslie was with us for six months, and for six months we got to show her how much we love her. She was 26 when she passed away. Thanks to the great facilities of the Fairmilehead Hospice in Edinburgh, her time was the best it could be.

Leslie was a fun and loving person, who always gave to other people. The worst tragedy is silence because of the stigma. We can not let people suffer in silence, we need to show them that we love them unconditionally.

So tonight I will be dancing at PINK, Chai Wan, Hong Kong, in honour of my cousins love. I hope you will join me in celebrating her life and raise money, for Aids Concern Hong Kong.

Take Care.......Practice safe sex, it is soooooooo worth it.
love to you all,
Mhari
xox