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Interview 39

Age at interview: 38
Age at diagnosis: 36
Brief Outline: He was admitted to hospital very ill and was diagnosed with HIV. He was put on Septrin because of his low T cell count. He gained social work assistance in hospital, and is hopeful about his immigration application. (Video and audio clips read by an actor.)
Background: A highly educated 38 year-old married black African man with 2 children.

More about me...

Age at interview' 38

Age at diagnosis' 36

Sex' Male

Background' A highly educated 38 year-old married black African man with 2 children, diagnosed 2 years ago.

Outline' A highly educated 38 year-old married black African man with 2 children. Although his viral load is undetectable, he was admitted to hospital very ill, where he was diagnosed with HIV. He was put on Septrin because of his low T cell count. Because he was in so much need at the time, he gained social work assistance in hospital, and was then able to gather around him further support as he got well. He quickly accepted his diagnosis as he was knowledgeable about HIV. He feels he is now a well integrated and productive member of British society - being involved in charity work and education - and so he is very hopeful about his immigration application. He is not yet on anti-retrovirals.

(Video and audio clips read by an actor.)

 

Says that some Africans may believe that only thin and sickly looking people can have HIV while...

Says that some Africans may believe that only thin and sickly looking people can have HIV while...

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So I think that's the problem that we are facing there. So every person thinks that it won't catch me, it will catch another person because of the way the message is told. It's very, very difficult yeah. And in the end, the message is lost… 

Because if, for example if I see two women and one is good looking and the other one is thin. You see I would take that the one who is thin to be HIV positive. So I'm looking at the outside. So I mean, so that's the reason why. 

When somebody's healthy, they're considered to be fit and free from HIV. But if a person from…. they are just born thin and you know sickly, they're taken to be HIV positive. You could be going round and yet you have it. And you're passing it over and you don't know, just because you look healthy.

 

Talks about how he chose to integrate into UK society and gather support for his immigration...

Talks about how he chose to integrate into UK society and gather support for his immigration...

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But I don't anticipate any problems at all, because I've integrated in this society. And there's… everyone around me would like to support that… in my asylum claim. From the church, from the political party. The Labour Party, from the MP herself. I've talked to her and I've told her. I say look, I'd like to remain here, the children are here. They'd love to be here and I can't go anywhere. 

And so she has written a letter to the Home Office to support that. I belong to the Labour Party so I, so the integration part is, can be proved. Because I mean at the same time it's not about sickness. It's about wanting to stay where you want to stay… I need to stay her. Just like the other people who, other people who belong to this country. Who wants to stay in my country. They're there, we left them. And they feel comfortable there. So you can't just go and remove them. Just like I feel I want to be here and I can't be removed from here. So it's about choice.

 

You may need to find out what social services are available to you since they might not come to...

You may need to find out what social services are available to you since they might not come to...

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Try to get information around what services that you can access. And where to go for everything that you might require. Because services are all over. Different kinds of services, it depends on where you are living. And so look for the information if you can find it on the Internet. 

Make a follow-up, make phone calls or go and visit the people. Talk to them and help is always available... It's, it's really up to the individual to ask for the services. Because the services will not come to you, will come to you. So there's a lot of work, you know seeking, to get, to access the service. You've got to follow it. 

Fortunately for me they had to get a social worker who had to run up and down for me. And so… But social workers will only... not do it until they are instructed by the hospital to do it. So it was easier for me because I was admitted in hospital. And so they had to deal with me while I was there.

 

Argues that the health system can be at once caring and hostile towards Africans, and so Africans...

Argues that the health system can be at once caring and hostile towards Africans, and so Africans...

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Yeah because at the same time the system is very hostile. Yeah, some people when they get tested, will not access services. Yeah they will not access services because they will look at immigration issues, they will look at that. 

But you see, at the same time, when you find helpful people, they will try to work around how to normalise your life by even sorting out the issues that you have. You can get hostile responses and you can also get good responses, yes very helpful… Right, yeah it also depends on how you as an individual relate to them yeah… 

But also some, some care... I mean some care trusts would be very hostile to such African communities. And while some definitely are very helpful, they don't look at ethnicity, yeah. 

And in fact by demography you find that people, you find blacks will be isolated to a certain specific area. Because the systems supports that. Yeah. For instance, if you've go to East London, you find a lot of black people. Because the system supports them. There is no hostile… you know hostility around them, yeah so.

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