My HIV specialist put me in touch with Terrence Higgins Trust, who explained about the different services that you offer. I asked to join the Refugee Mentoring Project in 2009.
The Refugee Mentoring Project matched me with a volunteer who gives me practical and emotional support. She sometimes meets me at home or we go somewhere else for a change of scenery. My mentor often attends appointments with me too and these aren’t always in my borough.
I was not in a good place when I joined the project. I was so depressed. I had just lost my twins, only two years after I lost my husband. I had no hope for the future. The project has helped me with many things.
Soon after I met my mentor I became pregnant. I was so scared for this baby. It was a very difficult pregnancy. There were many complications, not just because of my HIV, and I was in hospital for a long time.
My volunteer came to see me at home or in hospital. She helped me understand the doctors, and understand that I could have a healthy baby. For a long time, I couldn’t tell anyone else that I was there, in case they found out about my HIV.
My community were extremely cruel to my husband, and I couldn’t risk that for me and my baby.
I know that I can trust my mentor. She has helped me contact the council when my flat wasn’t suitable because I couldn’t manage the stairs – I now have a ground floor flat!
She has also helped me find a good legal aid solicitor and helped me provide all of the necessary information – I was scared about doing this on my own, because I have problems with my memory, and I was worried about making mistakes and my claim being refused. Since joining the project, I have felt supported, and I am much more confident now.
Last week I found out that I have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain! My home country isn’t safe for me and my baby, and I am so relieved. Now I have hope for our futures.
Read the next story: John's story ››
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Various people talk about their experiences of living with HIV.
CAB - Citizens Advice Bureau
HIV Drug Interactions
George House Trust
Equality and Human Rights Commission
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