Garry Brough: I was given five years to live. That was in 1991

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The Independent Online

I was diagnosed with HIV in February 1991, during my final year at college. I was 23. They said I probably had five years – two years of good health, a couple of years of declining health and then death.

It was an incredible shock. There were a few moments when I thought, "why bother going on with anything?" But I didn't want to wait to die, so I finished my degree and started work.

In 1995 I had my Aids diagnosis and began a course of chemotherapy for skin and lung cancer. Two years down the line, I had given up work and was told there was nothing more that could be done for me. You could hear the clock ticking.

Combination therapy came along in the nick of time. I don't believe I would have lived if it hadn't. My doctor told me how it was different to the other treatments. I said I wouldn't believe it till I saw people get well. Then we saw people who had been told they could be dead in a week being turned around on the new treatment.

I gradually gained confidence that maybe I could have a normal life again. It went from the doctors saying maybe I would have five years more, then 10 years, then that I could live essentially a full and normal life.

I'm already 15 years beyond my original prognosis, and counting. I have a mortgage and a pension now – things, that in my twenties I never imagined I'd ever need.