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Interview 21

Age at interview: 40
Age at diagnosis: 37
Brief Outline: Although he was very ill with HIV, he was determined not to become a victim and 'end up on the scrap heap.' He lives a healthy and physically active life on combination therapies (nevirapine and Combivir). (Video and audio clips read by an actor.)
Background: A professional gay man in full time work. He was diagnosed in September 2002 when he presented feeling tired and lacking in energy.

More about me...

Age at interview' 40

Age at diagnosis' 37

Sex' Male

Background' A professional gay man in full time work. He was diagnosed in September 2002 when he presented feeling tired and lacking in energy. 

Outline' A professional gay man in full time work. He was diagnosed in September 2002 when he presented feeling tired and lacking in energy. He attributes infection to a drunken night when he did not use condoms with a casual partner. Although he was once very ill with a CD4 count of less than 50, he was determined not to become a victim and 'end up on the scrap heap.' He continued to struggle and work until his combination therapy pulled him through. Initially he was on efevirenz and Combivir. Although his viral load dropped dramatically, he had trouble sleeping due to the efevirenz. He convinced his doctor to change from efavirenz to nevirapine, and his sleeping problems diminished. Despite common community ideas about Aids 'victims', he has found he can live a very healthy and physically active life on combination therapies.

(Video and audio clips read by an actor.)

 

There were divisions in his support group as a result of 'victim' mentality. (Read by an actor.)

There were divisions in his support group as a result of 'victim' mentality. (Read by an actor.)

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And it's odd. The, the group's virtually divided into… The, the group is divided down the middle between people who are getting on with their life, and other people who just put their lives on hold. And… I just want to shake some of these people. I think that there are some people who are natural victims. They will look for a reason not to get on with life. 

They… And there are other people who will look for a way round a problem. 'My life's a disaster. I haven't got anywhere. It's because I'm positive.' I mean there's half of us end up giggling. And the other half sit with faces like smacked arses [laughs].

 

He would only tell his parents about his HIV only if he was ill, but did tell his sister. (Read...

He would only tell his parents about his HIV only if he was ill, but did tell his sister. (Read...

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They're the one bunch of people I haven't told, my parents. Partly because I couldn't face the faffing. They came down… When I was first ill, they came down. And I had to… And I just wanted to sit and talk. And… But my mother insisted on cooking a huge meal and having a proper Sunday thing. And we had to get the table out. 

And when they'd gone I spent 2 days in bed. So when I was in hospital next time, I said to them, 'Don't come down.'

I, I just didn't want to see them. I didn't want anybody who…like, like were getting in the way. I mean I've got better now. And I don't see why I should lump my worries onto them in their old age. They… It's not, it's not their problem. 

If it gets to be a position where I am ill or, or had a terminal illness, then that's, that's the time to tell them. I don't see why I should dump on them… I've told my sister. Because I thought I should tell somebody. And I also needed to talk to somebody.

 

He suddenly remembered a drunken incident of unsafe sex just before his seroconversion illness. ...

He suddenly remembered a drunken incident of unsafe sex just before his seroconversion illness. ...

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I was listening to the radio. And there was a…coverage of a, of a conference on. And I suddenly had this awful remembrance of a drunken night in town. And thinking, bastard… If it wasn't that, it… 

And then I remembered that I… that neither of us had had a rubber. You know, and it seemed like a good idea. I don't do sex drunk. Normally. That was 5… 4 years beforehand. And after that I'd come out in an… But I'd never even heard of seroconversion. 

I'd come out with an enormous rash I… Everything that, that I've subsequently learnt was to do with seroconvertion.

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