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Interview 24

Age at interview: 47
Age at diagnosis: 41
Brief Outline: At one stage, he was very unwell and his CD4 cells were as low as 200. Since drug rehabilitation in the Russian Exodus Christian charity, he has been able to get his life back on track and his CD4 cells are now 900.
Background: A heterosexual married man who has 2 grown children who became addicted to heroin as a way of dealing with the pressures of war. He became infected with HIV through needle-sharing.

More about me...

Age at interview' 47

Age at diagnosis' 41

Sex' Male

Background' A 47 year old heterosexual married man, originally from Russia, who has 2 grown children. He became infected with HIV 6 years ago through needle sharing.

Outline' A 47 year old heterosexual married man who has 2 grown children who was originally from Russia. He became addicted to heroin as a way of dealing with the pressures of war. He became infected with HIV and hepatitis B & C through sharing a needle with a friend. At one stage, he was very unwell and his CD4 cells were as low as 200. He said he had been at the 'very bottom of society' and he had thought about suicide. However, since rehabilitation in the Russian Exodus Christian charity, he has been able to get his life back on track. He has been re-united with his family, and his CD4 cells are now 900. He has not needed medication for his HIV, and he hopes to help other people addicted to drugs and alcohol to get help.

 

He became addicted to heroin when he could not find a job.

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He became addicted to heroin when he could not find a job.

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And my first experiment with drugs was in, in the war where a lot of people took drugs to relieve yourself. To, because of conditions, it's not very good conditions, and I started to do it there first time' But you know I wasn't addicted when I was in this war. But when I left my military career I was so disappointed of nothing to do because I couldn't find a proper job. And so I felt myself so unhappy. And I'd met a lot of friends from my twenties, early twenties and it's' They were mainly all addicted people and it happened very quickly, I became addicted as well. It was hell. And I just wanted to escape from this hell. 

 

He felt depressed and useless after his HIV diagnosis.

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He felt depressed and useless after his HIV diagnosis.

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And I felt myself very bad and I collapsed. I collapsed. So I was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital. I was' and the blood was taken. But this, and the next day, it was 1999. And the next day the doctor came to my place where I was located. And said, '[Name] you know I've got two bad news for you.' 'OK which one, what the first?' 'The first you've got Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B', it was the ... it was just one. Yeah so, 'What the next one?' 'The next one you've got HIV. HIV.'

And the first two month, even more, were completely stressful for me. And I couldn't find place for me. I was thinking that I could just survive. I can't live properly now. What my wife, what my parents' how will they accept my illnesses? And, and basically I just, I didn't have any hope to meet them. Because I thought now I'm just useless for them. I'm just like a, like a heavy, very heavy load for them.

 

Found it easy to introduce condoms into his sex life with his wife.

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Found it easy to introduce condoms into his sex life with his wife.

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From the very beginning she decided straight away to stay with me. But you know it's really' it's complicated area of human relationship. But now, I can say just now, but... understandable. It's funny if we have no problems [laughter]. After I got HIV. We have sex life. And, we just use condoms like that. It's no problems at all. Yesterday I spoke to my wife, 'Listen darling maybe'' You know my daughter. My [daughter's name]. My eldest daughter just a couple of day ago said, 'You know daddy I just found out that positive people can have kids.' So just today in the morning'. Of course I was joking. But I said to my wife, 'Do you know about that? Maybe we can, you know, one more.' [Laughter] She just was laughing. She said, 'I'm too old. Too old for that.'

 

His belief in God and eternal life means he feels secure in dying.

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His belief in God and eternal life means he feels secure in dying.

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If someone who don't believe in God died with me... Because everyone have to die. Just in comparison. I am dying and someone more beside of me. But this person don't believe in God. And me I believe in God. What have we got in the same moment of our death? I've got a promise of eternal life. He hasn't got any promises. So he has worries. He has worries. And he has a bad life. A bad life behind himself. Because he didn't keep the ten commandants. He did wrong things. 

Because I know everyone thinks, I'm a clever man. I can manage with everything. I can cheat this one. I can steal this. I can kill. I can beat. I can hit. No one will know about that. They're' but the person who really believed in that God couldn't do that.

 

He was addicted to heroin and tells how turning to Jesus as a trusted friend was important in his...

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He was addicted to heroin and tells how turning to Jesus as a trusted friend was important in his...

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So the God is. God, I can say an only thing. It's my point of view. But I really believe in that. That the drug problem it's not the problem of health. It's the spiritual problem. I just know' For example, if you have no hope but, human being' Everyone needs to have a hope to survive. And you are looking for one and someone tells you about that God. God... can help you. Just it's the only hope you can accept. So if you are a clever man you have to use this possibility to save yourself. And if you accept Jesus, you can get more than just survival. You can get even eternal life. 

So, if you're a clever man why you don't live this possibility, this opportunity? If you are' oh it's not a big secret. Everyone knows about junkies, they have no real friendship. How can I get this disease? I took a syringe from my best friend. I was, as I was thinking at that moment. And they, they were, there was a bit heroin' I asked him, 'Have you got a blood here?' 'No it's clean.' Straight away after, after the fix I felt myself completely bad. And about two days I was really bad. And in a few months I was diagnosed. So the best friends of mine gave me, present me these two even three diseases. So what kind of friendship... can you say, just hell. So and normally and when you're, when you're realising that you know at once you have to find something more valuable. All your experience is saying that no one among people which' to whom you can believe you can trust. So you are trying. Because you are desperately need to find something good that can help you. And Jesus is exactly the person who can help people like me.

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