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Interview 43

Age at interview: 49
Age at diagnosis: 47
Brief Outline: She has teenage children, and although she found it difficult to tell them about her HIV, they were very supportive. She believes that for women it is vital to seek out others with HIV to share their experiences of HIV. (Video and audio clips read by an actor.)
Background: A 49 year old black African woman who came to the UK from Africa 2 years ago and became sick with HIV on her visit.

More about me...

Age at interview' 49

Age at diagnosis' 47

Sex' Female

Background' A 49 year old black woman who came to the UK from Africa 2 years ago. She became sick and was diagnosed as HIV positive while visiting the UK.

Outline' A 49 year old black woman who came to the UK from Africa 2 years ago. She became sick and was diagnosed as HIV positive while visiting the UK. She is well aware of the discrimination and stigma that is attached to women with HIV. She has teenage children, and although she found it difficult to tell them about her HIV, they were very supportive. She believes that for women it is vital to seek out others with HIV to share experiences of HIV so as to gain support and know how best to live well.

(Video and audio clips read by an actor.)

 

Talking to other women with HIV gives her courage to approach her doctor about sensitive concerns...

Talking to other women with HIV gives her courage to approach her doctor about sensitive concerns...

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One other thing is to get the support, because sometimes some of the things that you feel you cannot discuss with your doctor sometimes… I would say specifically, say things like maybe… things which might be caused by the side-effects. If you have a relationship and then you sometimes… the medication sometimes makes you loose your sexual feelings. So such things, it's always best to talk to other women, just to find out from them how they feel. 

You know, when you are married or maybe you have a relationship, after taking medication at some stage you just feel you are not as active as you used to be. So you don't whether… is it the medication, or is it the HIV itself? Or is it just the depression of being HIV? So when you talk to other women it helps a lot, because that's when you will discuss this whole issue. If someone has experience of the same thing, that's when I will have courage now to go and approach your doctor and tell him about it.

 

Was delighted to find that other women with HIV she met in a support group were healthy and not...

Was delighted to find that other women with HIV she met in a support group were healthy and not...

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In my own experience, when I was first diagnosed, the first week few weeks were hell. I was thinking what was happening back home (in Africa) when someone is HIV positive. My GP just kept… he encouraged me to go and meet others. But I was very shy. I didn't even want to meet any people from my country. But the day when I actually got the courage and went there (a support group) I was shocked. 

I met the most beautiful ladies, you know looking nice, no skin rash - nothing. I thought they would be very skinny, skin problems, you know dying really. But I was shocked. I remember I talked to some ladies they told me I have been taking this for 10 years, 17 years. I said, 'What!' I thought I was going to die, you know six months I will be dead. They said no it's nothing like this.

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