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Interview 45

Age at interview: 43
Age at diagnosis: 39
Brief Outline: She was staying with her sister when she was diagnosed. Her sister mistreated her because of her HIV. Social groups, courses and Christianity have contributed to her wellbeing and empowerment. (Video and audio clips read by an actor.)
Background: A 43 year old woman who came to the UK from Africa 4 years ago to study, but became very ill and was diagnosed with HIV.

More about me...

Age at interview' 43

Age at diagnosis' 39

Sex' Female

Background' A 43 year old woman who came to the UK from Africa 4 years ago to study, but became very ill (she was in a coma) and was diagnosed with HIV. 

Outline' A 43 year old woman who came to the UK from Africa 4 years ago to study, but became very ill (she was in a coma) and was diagnosed with HIV. Hospital social workers organised for her teenage daughter to come and join her in the UK. She disclosed her HIV status to her daughter because she did not want her daughter to be confused. She was staying with her sister  when she was diagnosed, who mistreated her because of her HIV. Subsequently, social workers from her hospital found alternative accommodation for herself and her daughter, and her solicitor helped her to gain discretional leave to remain in the UK. She takes Sustiva and Combivir and now has an undetectable viral load (350 T cells) and she takes medication for TB. Although she has some side-effects from medication (e.g. fat re-distribution, pigmentation) she feels very fortunate. Social groups, courses and Christianity have been central to her feeling of wellbeing and empowerment.

(Video and audio clips read by an actor.)

 

Links her gaining power to a favourable immigration decision. (Read by an actor.)

Links her gaining power to a favourable immigration decision. (Read by an actor.)

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I was always panicking of this immigration thing, that I will be deported if I go back home. What am I going to do? My relatives back home, they are old and the situation back home, it's very, very depressing now. What am I going to do if I am deported? And fortunately I was given discretional leave to remain. That was leave to rem… that was three years to remain in the country. 

And from that time, I start developing more… I, I start being energetic. My, my stress was going down a bit now, because I said, 'Oh, really the, the government is dealing with my case.' 

If they give me this discretional leave to remain, my daughter will have more time to go to school, because she is interested with schooling, so if she, if I am deported back home how is she going to go back to school? Where will I go, where will I go and get the money? Where will I go and live? 

Because all people back home they are told that I am HIV positive, and how my future is going to be like? And I start getting more… I start getting more power. And my, I was self extended really, because I was empowered when I get the discretional leave to remain.

 

Says that praying for herself and others (even her enemies) has improved her health and led to...

Says that praying for herself and others (even her enemies) has improved her health and led to...

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God helped me a lot because every time when I was in my… in the house, or even when I am on the bus sitting, I used, I'm, I, I am always saying, 'God help me and help all the people who are against us.' Because some of them they don't know how the future is like. And God help all those people who are suffering. And God help our children because they will be the leaders of tomorrow. 

So God answered my prayer really. Because the time I saw that my CD4 count is getting up, and I get the discretional leave which other people they have been in this country for years and years, they didn't get this discretional leave. And I am getting more support than other people who are in this country for some years and years, they are not getting this support. 

Really God is helping me, and God is answering my prayers. And I am still keeping alive. 

My daughter is still keeping alive. She is going to school and I am having new friends, those who neglected me I have to pray for them to be having their better future. 

I don't mind what they will be saying against me, but I will keep on praying on for them to have a better life in the future. Yes.

 

She told her partner they must use condoms because she had TB. (Read by an actor.)

She told her partner they must use condoms because she had TB. (Read by an actor.)

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You know our African men most of the times if you tell him that you are HIV positive, he will say, 'Oh so the whole of my life I am going to use the condom!'

So I am telling my partner that I'm using the condom with you every time because you know I am on, on this long treatment of TB medication, I can't have direct sex with you, we will have to use a condom. If I use, if we don't do, we don't do sex using the condom, you will be affected with this TB and he is understanding. 

But if I tell him that I'm HIV positive, he will run away from me. Because he is thinking that in future, when I am cleared from this TB medication we will be doing direct sex. He doesn't know that it's for life. This person, she is HIV positive. 

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