“Please be gentle” | Episode 1

“Please be gentle” | Episode 1

By Tash Walker, Adam Zmith and Shivani Dave

This is the story of the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as it has never been told before: through the voices and notes of the people who took phone calls made to an LGBTQ+ helpline. From 1983 to 1991, Switchboard volunteers supported people living with HIV, their loved ones, and people scared of it. In the first of three special episodes that start Season Two of The Log Books, Tash and Adam hear from survivors, a nurse and a doctor, and the people who were among the first to tackle what became a crisis.

Content warning: Illness, death, and ill-treatment and discrimination of people living with HIV and AIDS.

Transcript here.

The Log Books — stories from Britain’s LGBT+ history and conversations about being queer today. Produced by Shivani Dave, Tash Walker and Adam Zmith, in partnership with Switchboard - the LGBT+ helpline. With thanks to the Bishopsgate Institute and the BFI National Archive.

For more information about the themes in this episode, take a look at:

From organisations:

All about HIV from the Terrence Higgins Trust

All about PrEP from Prepster

National Aids Trust, the UK’s HIV rights charity

Positively UK, advocates for and supporters of people living with HIV

Positive East, health and wellbeing for people living with HIV

NAM AIDS Map, which grew out of Switchboard!

Tonic Living, which seeks to build LGBT+ affirming retirement communities


BBC Horizon Killer in the Village from 1983


From Probably True with Scott Flashheart:

Doctor part 1 

Doctor part 2



Policing Desire by Simon Watney

The End of Innocence by Simon Garfield 

AIDS: Don’t Die of Prejudice by Norman Fowler

Music by Tom Foskett-Barnes

Artwork by Natalie Doto


Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/thelogbooks.

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Heart UK