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Interview 35

Age at interview: 40
Age at diagnosis: 30
Brief Outline: He turned up in the health system with TB in the mid-1990s, and was tested for HIV. He has an undetectable viral load and 400 CD4 cells. He accesses African support groups and the Internet for support. (Video and audio clips read by an actor.)
Background: A 40 year-old married man with 2 children, originally from Africa.

More about me...

Age at interview' 40

Age at diagnosis' 30

Sex' Male

Background' A 40 year-old married man with 2 children, originally from Africa.

Outline' A 40 year-old married man with 2 children, originally from Africa. He turned up in the health system with TB in the mid-1990s, and was tested for HIV. He also suffers from Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) because of HIV. He believes he contracted HIV from an ex-girlfriend, and he felt angry and betrayed by her, although he tries to get on with life now. He is currently on Combivir, saquinavir and ritonavir and has an undetectable viral load and 400 T cells. He has few side-effects, and this allows him to put HIV out of his mind. However, he is concerned that he is unable to get work and wonders if confidentiality is breached by some health professionals, or that he might not look 'strong enough' to employers. He accesses African support groups and the Internet for support.

(Video and audio clips read by an actor.)

 

Explains that talking to someone with HIV can be inspiring. (Read by an actor.)

Explains that talking to someone with HIV can be inspiring. (Read by an actor.)

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Yeah I mean it empowers you by oh… expressing this feeling the way I feel. They have passed through the stages I've passed through and yet he is making it... why do I have to hold back? 

Then I try to emulate them and do what… do those challenges they are doing, which I have, I just think that oh, because my, because of my illness because of my condition, I'm not able to do that, so I try to push myself to do those things. 

 

A hospital doctor wrote to his GP about his HIV and so he is now suspicious of health...

A hospital doctor wrote to his GP about his HIV and so he is now suspicious of health...

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They told GP, they wrote a letter from my hospital to the GP, oh this person he is infected. Maybe his children might be, his wife might be also you know, that kind of a thing. So it's a lot of confused bunch which I don't really trust again, I don't actually agree with them yeah... Well it makes me very sceptical, when I go to see health professionals. 

I now deliberately refuse to open up to them because they're just sniffing around for information from you. The little thing they hear from you, they write it down you know, put it on paper. You know when you tell them you don't want it on record, Please let it be off record, they just secretly put it down and then by the time you get back to them... you don't know where information is passed to. 

Yet they will tell you there and then that number one this information is just within, it's not going out, but nobody knows what happens to it thereafter. 

 

Hospital staff outside the HIV clinic told his GP about his HIV status. (Read by an actor.)

Hospital staff outside the HIV clinic told his GP about his HIV status. (Read by an actor.)

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They told the GP, they wrote a letter from my hospital to the GP, oh this person he is infected. Maybe his children might be, his wife might be also, you know, that kind of a thing. 

So it's a lot of a confused bunch which I don't really trust again, I don't actually agree with them yeah… it makes me very sceptical, when I go to see health professionals. I now deliberately refuse to open up to them because they're just sniffing for information from you. The little thing they hear from you, they write it down you know, put it on paper. 

You know when you tell them you don't want it on record let it be off record, they just secretly put it down and then by the time you get back to them... you don't know where they pass the information to you don't know. Yet they will tell you there and then that number one this information is just within, it's not going out… but nobody knows what happens to it thereafter.

 

He believed that a partner was responsible for his HIV infection. (Read by an actor.)

He believed that a partner was responsible for his HIV infection. (Read by an actor.)

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She stayed on with me, she stayed with me for about six years all over, living with me… And then she was accusing my other girlfriend to be responsible also. She was saying, no she is the one responsible. 

So later we discovered that she was actually the one that was responsible. And how I came to know that, after she has left me, when my family came to join me, she's a friend to… she is the friend to the wife of my friend. So she revealed to the friend of my friend, to his or her own girlfriend, her own girlfriend as well. 

So anyway she revealed to her that she was in that situation, that she had the HIV… But she didn't tell them that she gave it to me because all along she has been denying that she's was responsible for this. So that was what happened… I feel very, very sad, in fact, I just… I don't think I can ever forgive that girl. I cannot. If I didn't know the person that caused this to me, that's a different thing. 

But I, when I know the person that caused it, I mean if I knew it's not just easy to forget about it, but, well, that is life. She has left my place, I'm on my own, I have my family, I am living well, living happily with my family. 

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