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Derek, a distinguished designer and J, his husband, a pioneering entrepreneur and creator of both The Embassy Club, London’s answer to Studio 54, and iconic Heaven, Europe’s largest gay discotheque, met and fell in love more than 40 years ago.
Their lives were high-octane, full of adventure, fun and fearless creativity. Suddenly their friends began to get sick and die – AIDS had arrived in their lives. When they got tested, J received what was then a death sentence: he was HIV Positive. While the onset of AIDS strengthened stigma and fear globally, they confronted their personal crisis with courage, humour and an indomitable resolve to survive. J’s battle lasted six long years. Turning to spiritual reflection, yoga, nature – and always to love – Derek describes a transformation of the spirit, how compassion and empathy rose phoenix-like from the flames of sickness and death. Out of this transformation also came Aids Ark, the charity they founded, which helped to save, amongst the world’s most marginalised people, more than 1,000 HIV Positive lives.
This is a story of joy and triumph; about facing universal challenges; about the great rewards that come from giving back. Derek speaks for a generation who lived through a global health crisis that many in society refused even to acknowledge. His is a powerful story chronicling this extraordinary time.
'This is the story of a life interwoven with HIV and the author and his husband's mission to bring hope and relief to others. Derek Frost writes with unsentimental honesty: a stark witness that has been largely absent from the literature. This book is both a history and an inspiration.' - Matthew Parris
'Incredibly vivid, moving, and compelling. This book led me through all the pain and anguish and loss and also the love and the hope, all over again.' - Lord Chris Smith
'This is a powerful book, at once a love letter, a well-informed history of the AIDS epidemic, and the life-story of a beautiful young man in London, moving happily through the early days of gay liberation into a time of widespread anguish and despair.' - Del Kolve, Professor of English Literature UCLA, CA, USA
'This is a poignant and heart-touching memoir which gives the forty year global HIV pandemic a truly human face. It’s a book that epitomizes the human struggles of sexuality, privacy, belonging, exclusion and stigma all coloured by the complexity of worldwide viral contagion, untimely death and the advancing triumphs of medical innovation. Above all it is a story of coping, overcoming, generosity and enduring love.” - Linda-Gail Bekker, Professor of Medicine, President International AIDS Society 2016–2018, Co-Founder of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre and Health Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa.