On Saturday night I finally got around to watching Bohemian Rhapsody. I’m not going to talk about the movie itself or the controversies around it. I want to talk about the AIDS crisis that was central to the unfortunate demise of Freddy Mercury.

As a young man I was hitting puberty as the AIDS crisis took hold and scared the world. Possibly it scared me more than some because, even though I didn’t know it at the time, I was gay and it was being called the “Gay disease”.

I think for guys like me of that era, it is why some of us took longer to be convinced of the merits of PrEP as a safe option. Growing up I was convinced that anyone who had sex without a condom was going to die because that’s what happened to men like Freddy at the time.

As it turned out I wasn’t sexually active for a long time after and the hysteria had died down and men were living a lot longer, and very happy rich lives by the time I came out. It’s people in the public eye like Freddy who did announce he was dying of AIDS, sadly only 24 hours before his death, who started the long and still not complete job of reducing the stigma of HIV and AIDS.

I will forever be grateful that I got through my early gay years without contracting HIV and now live in a world of ever diminishing transmissions.