A-Z

Interview 41

Age at interview: 45
Age at diagnosis: 42
Brief Outline: Although she was monogamous, her partner was not, and she believes she picked up HIV from him. She has found support groups to be vital in her emotional wellbeing. (Video and audio clips read by an actor.)
Background: A 45 year old woman who came to the UK from Africa over 4 years ago. She became sick and was diagnosed as HIV positive while studying in the UK.

More about me...

Age at interview' 45

Age at diagnosis' 42

Sex' Female

Background' A 45 year old black woman who came to the UK from Africa over 4 years ago. She became sick and was diagnosed as HIV positive 3 years ago.

Outline' A 45 year old black woman who came to the UK from Africa over 4 years ago. She became sick and was diagnosed as HIV positive while believing she would only be staying in the UK temporarily to do further study. Although she was monogamous, she feels her partner was not, and she believes she picked up HIV from him. She eventually forgave him because she believed that her anger was harming herself. She has found support groups to be vital in her emotional wellbeing. She disclosed her HIV to her children (the youngest being a teenager), who were shocked but nevertheless supportive.

(Video and audio clips read by an actor.)

 

As a professional woman it is humiliating for her to be forced to live off little and not work. ...

As a professional woman it is humiliating for her to be forced to live off little and not work. ...

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We getting free medication. That is why the government is calling us health tourists. Most of us like she said we are professional people. 

Initially when we came here, we did not think we would fall sick. We came here for greener pastures. Especially since we came from Africa where the political situation has turned bad. So we just thought when we came here we develop ourselves. I am speaking for myself. I didn't want to live in this country. I wanted to do my studies then go back home, but apparently when I was doing my studies, that's when I fell sick. 

When I ended up in this situation where I am trapped. I am not allowed to work… The situation is we are not used to getting food handouts. We are hard working people. We are not used to getting vouchers and staying in the house 24/7. It's actually humiliating… It is so humiliating. Especially when you have been working. And providing for your own family and doing things for yourself. 

Well some of us were breadwinners! Now we have to rely on like £60 in 2 weeks. You don't get cash. It depends on the borough you are in. 

Some boroughs give you cash, some boroughs they don't. And you get food vouchers, with no money to buy… not even… I mean in our culture, we have our traditional meal. And with these vouchers now when I go to Sainsbury's I can't get maize meal. And I need the cash to go and buy maize meal. So all of this… people are really stressed.

 

African men can find it particularly difficult when they cannot work. (Read by an actor.)

African men can find it particularly difficult when they cannot work. (Read by an actor.)

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For instance, we were professional people… professional people right and when we came here I had reached the highest level of my profession. When I came here, everything went right down to the very basic. 

And I am living on vouchers. I have never had to think about how much do I spend to buy this and what have you. And half the time, I don't even have the money to buy anything. 

So I mean that… when it applies to the men, because the man thinks of his wife and his children. In our African culture, the man is supposed to be responsible for his family, the breadwinner. Whether he is good at it or not, but he is responsible for his family. 

Whereas the woman takes a subservient role in the family really. But that is why men really find it very difficult… Because the child will be saying I want this, I want that. I want shoes. The woman would be saying you are the man of the house, you must do this and that. And at the end of the day he can't do anything. He has got no money. That is why they feel so stressed out.

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