news

Elizabeth Taylor would be 'horrified' by HIV rates among gay men today, says granddaughter

2015-03-24
Elizabeth Taylor's granddaughter has said that the late actress and HIV/AIDS activist would be "horrified" by the rates of HIV infection among gay men today. The legendary star was an outspoken campaigner for HIV/AIDS charities during the the height of the crisis in the mid-1980s, founding the American Foundation for AIDS Research in 1985, and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) in 1991. Her longtime friend and Giant co-star Rock Hudson died from the disease in 1985. liz taylor In an interview to commemorate the fourth anniversary of Taylor's death, her granddaughter lamented a "complacency" in the battle against HIV/AIDS that had set in before her death. Naomi deLuce Wilding told the Telegraph: ““She was a very intuitive woman and when she saw that people - friends of hers and fellow actors - were being stigmatized, she recognised an opportunity to use her voice and fame to speak up for those who were being discriminated against.” Asked whether her grandmother would be pleased to see modern developments, Ms Wilding said: “Ultimately I don’t think so. “If she were to hear that the highest rate of infection is still in young people aged between 24-35, and in particular amongst young gay men, even in this country, she would be horrified. “A real complacency has set in and even before she died, when my grandmother was pretty ill, she was horrified to see that. Sadly I don’t think she had the strength to say what she really felt at that point.” Of her grandmother's legacy, Wilding said: “She certainly had a good time and was unapologetic about that. She knew how to enjoy life. But I don’t think she was ready to die when she did – and that was partly down to the fact that she didn’t feel her work with the AIDS Foundation was done.” Ms Wilding, who continues to raise money for ETAF, added: “Our grandmother never asked us to follow in her footsteps, especially not as actors, but not even in terms of continuing her work for HIV/AIDS after her death. “She taught us by example to help others.” More stories: Zoe Saldana: Dolce & Gabbana boycott 'the stupidest thing' Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black share anniversary pics