Wendy Austin opens up about brother’s death from Aids

BBC broadcaster Wendy Austin has spoken candidly about the death of her brother from Aids.

Monday, 4th November 2019, 12:36 pm
Pacemaker press 27/07/2016. Pictured is Wendy Austin. Picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press

David Austin was diagnosed with HIV while living in London in 1993.

Her story is part of a documentary, True North: Cherrie, Me and HIV, which will air on BBC NI tonight at 10.35pm.

The journalist talks about how her family was unable to bring his body back home for burial - because of his condition he had to be cremated.

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In the programme, Co Antrim actor Matthew Cavan talks about living with HIV and the abuse he endured.

Wendy Austin said her brother broke the news of his illness to her during a visit to London.

“He [David] got in touch with me one day and said: ‘I’ve got some really bad news for you – I’m an alcoholic and I’m HIV positive’.

“He did start to go downhill very quickly and the next time I saw him in London I thought that, really, mum and dad needed to come over.

“So we went over for the weekend, the three of us, and we saw him then. I have to say he looked beyond dreadful.

“Actually, I think that was the last time I saw him and the last time mum and dad saw him.”

The broadcaster speaks about how the family had to make the “sad journey” to London for his funeral.

“One of the things that we discovered was there was no question of being able to bring his body back here because he had died from Aids,’’ she said.