HIV

Interview 46

Female
Age at interview: 34
Age at diagnosis: 31

Brief outline: Although her CD4 count was as low as 40 when she ill, it is now 700 and she feels better than ever. Counselling, support groups and staff at GUM clinics have been the most helpful to her. (Video and audio clips read by an actor.)

Background: A 34 year old black African woman who came to the UK from Africa to study for a degree in a health profession, but became very ill and was diagnosed with HIV.

Audio & video

Age at interview' 34

Age at diagnosis' 31

Sex' Female

Background' A 34 year old black African woman who came to the UK from Africa to study for a degree, but became very ill and was diagnosed with HIV in 2002.

Outline' A 34 year old black African woman who came to the UK from Africa to study for a degree in a health profession, but became very ill and was diagnosed with HIV in 2002 after her sister suggested she go for blood tests. She also had TB and hepatitis B. After counselling, she felt she had to accept that she was HIV positive, and nothing would change that. Shortly after diagnosis, she began with anti-viral therapy, and the Sustiva gave her disturbing dreams. She is currently taking ddI, atazanavir, and 3TC with no apparent side-effects. Although her CD4 count was as low as 40 when she was ill, it is now 700 and her viral load is undetectable. She feels even more energetic than ever. She assumes her sister knows she is HIV positive, but they have never spoken about it. She will not tell her relatives about her HIV because the information might spread as gossip. Counselling, support groups, staff at GUM clinics and social workers have been the most helpful to her. She is appealing a recent decision to deny her application to stay in the UK on compassionate grounds.

(Video and audio clips read by an actor.)

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