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Interview 37

Age at interview: 31
Age at diagnosis: 29
Brief Outline: He feels that he is a stronger person because of his experience with HIV. He is not currently on medication and had 680 CD4 cells. He now takes care of himself through exercise and diet. (Video and audio clips read by an actor.)
Background: A 31 year old gay male care worker born in South America who currently lives in the UK. He found out he was HIV positive during a difficult time in his life.

More about me...

Age at interview' 31

Age at diagnosis' 29

Sex' Male

Background' A 31 year old gay male care worker, diagnosed 2 years ago, who was born in South America and currently lives in the UK.

Outline' A 31 year old gay male care worker who was born in South America and currently lives in the UK. He believed he was HIV negative because he tested negative in South America before coming to the UK. He got tested when his boyfriend refused to have sex without condoms with him in the UK. He was shocked to find out he was actually HIV positive. Being Catholic, he wondered why God was punishing him. He later worked out that he was positive because he had anal intercourse without condoms. He found out he was HIV positive during a very difficult time in his life (e.g. unemployed, immigration problems), but he feels that he is a stronger person because of the experience. He is not currently on medication and had 680 CD4 cells and a viral load of 20,000 at interview. He now takes very good care of himself through exercise and diet.

(Video and audio clips read by an actor.)

 

He was depressed and had little support when he was diagnosed with HIV and yet he now feels...

He was depressed and had little support when he was diagnosed with HIV and yet he now feels...

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What doesn't kill you makes you more strong! And I am 100% more strong now than before… I think that I have been born again, you know and I feel more happy now than before. Amazing you know… the first thing is I had the… I discovered I was... HIV here. 

I didn't have no one, no member of my family to give me support. I didn't have job, I don't have place to stay. I was, I was very very close to being a illegal immigrant, so and there I was, HIV positive. 

I have, I have got over all these things, do you know what I mean? And now I'm here…

And I think that after I discovered I was HIV positive, I start to take care more about my health than before, you know what I mean? I started going to the gym, I hated the gym, the gym before, but now I am starting to go to the gym… before I used to eat everything and now I start to look for my… anyway after my health.

 

Talks about the answer he came up with when he prayed to God to explain why he had got HIV. (Read...

Talks about the answer he came up with when he prayed to God to explain why he had got HIV. (Read...

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I was really, really depressed, I didn't want to hurt, you know I, I just ask why it's happened to me… But I just went like, why it's happened to me? I have helped people like that (with HIV). 

Before I used to be out, outside the part of the group, give support for these kind of people. Now I'm, I'm in here, made part of the group, why? You know and then when, I was very, very Catholic because my family's very Catholic and (I) pray and ask for… I was really upset. Really, really upset. I said like this is the pain that I get? I ask it to him (God), why me? 

But then I… after long, long time I ask questions, I have the answer. I said fuck you're stupid, because you're having sex without a condom! Only because that, that makes sense. 

 

He mistakenly believed himself to be HIV negative and so it upset him when his partner insisted...

He mistakenly believed himself to be HIV negative and so it upset him when his partner insisted...

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I have done a very stupid thing because, when I had sex, I really do like to do sex without the condom and he said no. Because his last boyfriend for ten years their relationship, have died of HIV. 

And he said, 'No, I don't want to.' I said, 'But why, because you are positive?' He said, 'No, I'm not positive. But I have been with someone that is positive for five, for six years. And I said to myself, never do sex without condom, and I don't want this to happen again.'

Then he asked me, it's very funny because he asked, 'What happened if you are, if you discovered that I was positive?'… So we didn't have sex without a condom, I stayed very upset about that. Then I go back to London I said, 'I will do some tests, to prove for you that I don't have nothing, and I want to have sex without condom.' And he said, he said, 'Whatever you do, I will not do sex without condom.' I said, 'OK, but I will do this test anyway.'

After two weeks I went to take the result… And I never remember, I never forget .. they said, 'Unfortunately, you are positive.' This, this was the kind of thing that the, the world is stopped. And I said… this guy that I wish I don't speak English, not learning or don't understand English, because I said, 'Excuse me, are you sure that this is my test?' I they said, 'Would you like see?' I said, 'Yeah, I would like to see.'

There… the world is stopping there. I didn't, you know, I didn't remember nothing. Everything that I knew about HIV it's disappeared. I just it is stopped. The whole world stopped. I just remember that I just was start to cry, cry, cry…

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