FOUNDATION FOR AIDS COUNSELLING TREATMENT & SUPPORT (FACTS), 1988-2000
In 1985 my partner was one of the first in the country to contract AIDS.
Alongside my City career, I worked with his astonishing GPs, Dr Andrew Heley and Dr Carl Chang, to bring the best medical practice to the UK at a time when the condition was poorly understood. I also supported and helped launch what became the country’s leading AIDS fundraiser, Crusaid.
The result was The Foundation for AIDS Counselling Treatment & Support (FACTS). We founded the charity in 1988, and opened a dedicated clinic in North London in 1990. At one point we were caring for around 10% of all the UK’s AIDS patients. As part of my role as Chair, I won funding from Haringey Council, the Wellcome Trust and Prudential Assurance, as well as Crusaid.
Our strategy was to change the way people with AIDS were cared for, by providing treatments in a day care clinic which until then had been restricted to in-patient care at major teaching hospitals. We helped people live in better health despite this most dangerous and unpredictable of conditions, rather than just treating their symptoms at moments of crisis. We changed how AIDS was managed in the UK, and fostered positive community relations in an otherwise hostile climate.
The operation was eventually folded into the Terrence Higgins Trust, after the condition had become treatable as part of mainstream medical care, rather than mainly through specialist facilities.