I am a single, heterosexual female and was diagnosed on 10th August 2009, a day I will never forget.
I was 44 years old when I was diagnosed and was informed that I had been living with HIV for the past 10-12 years.
Being told I was HIV+ was the worst day of my life and a total shock. I recall asking the lady in the clinic my first question, "Am I going to die?"
I knew the bare basics of HIV, like how you can catch it but that was it, I had no clue about meds etc. I thought I knew enough when what I really knew was next to nothing. I was started almost immediately on anti-retrovirals as my CD4 count was 95 and my viral load was 22,500. 2 months after staring Atripla, my CD4 count was 202 and my viral load was 41. :)
I was able to tell a few close friends about my status and they were extremely supportive. The love they showed me gave me the strength and confidence to tell more of my friends.
Now, almost 2 years on, almost all of the people around me know and I'm at the stage where I don't feel so secretive about my status.
I am pretty sure I know who infected me as everyone else that I have had contact with has tested negative. I'm not a drug user or a sex worker so it was quite easy for me to narrow it down. Still, I'm 99% sure that "he" probably hasn't got tested. (I know his character.)
I think the worst day for me, apart from being told, was when I had to phone the Organ Donation Register and request to be removed. It broke my heart as I'd carried a Donor Card from the age of about 13/14.
The best day for me was when my son finally decided to get tested and came back negative. (I'm smiling with tears in my eyes even as I type this.) There is life after diagnosis and mine has completely changed and for the better.
I now volunteer for Terrence Higgins Trust because I feel that if I can help just one person, then something good has come from this. Life is not the way it's supposed to be - it's the way it is. The way you deal with it is what makes the difference.
Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent. xx
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Great story-thanks for the inspiration
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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