For a few years, everything was fine. Then, in February 2003, Robert spotted what looked like a blood blister on the back of his calf. That, he would later discover, was Kaposi's sarcoma, a cancer known to be triggered by Aids. Soon thereafter, he noticed that his tongue was growing patches of white fur. That would turn out to be hairy leukoplakia, an infection also strongly linked with Aids. By May that year, he had contracted Aids-related pneumonia, forcing him to revisit a surgery. But the doctor unknowingly prescribed treatment for common pneumonia: Robert refused to admit that he had HIV.
Jon Cartwright is a freelance journalist based in Bristol.