Pam talks about being diagnosed, going on treatment and how with the right support and care you can live as normal a life as anyone without HIV.
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'I didn’t know that I was going to get tested for HIV. I was just referred to the GUM clinic. I just walked and just like normal thing. I didn’t even know what HIV was and where I coming from and where I was going.'
'So a week later I got a phone call and they were saying come in to the clinic right now.'
'And then I went in and they said I was HIV positive and I needed to start on medication straight away.'
'So I was just like what?!'
'So it was just like all things coming together within that week.'
'It was terrible. I don’t even remember how I managed to get through those weeks.'
'But it was just a matter of saying OK. At the end of it I was just thinking: OK I’m HIV positive. How am I going to manage it and how am I going to live with it?'
'After the diagnosis I just took it as with any other chronic condition really. You can’t reverse it that’s a fact you can't reverse it.'
'So you just try and manage with what you’ve got.'
'The emotional well-being, it's not easy to maintain, but for me personally, I have to know, me if I feel crap I just don’t go out. Or I try and avoid people.'
'So even if people see me they have to stay away from me because they know that – yeah - she’s coming.'
'It's fun in the way that being diagnosed with HIV you reconsider your life.'
'For me it was a matter of I’m doing things that I never thought I would be doing if I wasn’t HIV positive.'
'So I’m more daring.'
'I’m more in there.'
'When I was diagnosed I had this image of people living with HIV very fragile and skinny and all that. But going to that support group I just saw people talking and laughing and things like that.'
'So it sort of took me away from that preconceived idea that people living with HIV are always skinny or always sad and things like that.'
'You can listen to other people’s stories but you need to have your own idea and then you build on it with other people’s stories.'
'It's not the end of it.'
'With the right treatment and the right support and the right care you can live as normal as any other person who is not living with HIV. And you can keep on working and you can keep on socialising and if you are planning on having children you can still do that and you can still have children who are HIV negative.'
'So its not all doom and gloom and you can have fun as well if you are HIV positive. You can have fun. It doesn’t mean that you stop having fun.'
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