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I met Terry and his partner at the founding meeting of Our House Body Positive in 1991. Terry was a small person with a large personality, determination and a strong will. A heavy smoker, he was in his early thirties at the time and had been HIV positive for a few years. A good cook, he helped with Body Positive lunches, especially once we had use of a social services day centre on Sundays and access to a commercial kitchen. Terry was a strong debater in group discussions and could put forward his views assertively. These powerful views did not help him to find consensus in group discussions and after a few years he withdrew from political activity.
Terry became a good friend and sex buddy, and his strong personality was reflected in a strong sexual energy. This was a time when positive people often chose other positive people to have sex with - sero selection. I stayed with Terry on several occasions after I moved abroad and we stayed good friends for a long time. When he died (around 2016), he was staying at the Sussex Beacon. I regret that I kept a certain distance and could not bring myself to say goodbye even though I was aware. This probably was to protect my own emotional well-being.
Over the years his health followed the rollercoaster pattern familiar to most people living with HIV at that time. By the turn of the century, he was single and living in a large basement flat near the 7 dials which for many years was remarkable for its colourful and eye-catching display of plants and flowers in a small front garden and window boxes. Around this time, he also ran his own flower business in town.
Words by A N