I was diagnosed in November 2009, that year I’d taken an HIV test in June a couple of weeks after having condomless sex with another guy whilst feeling really unwell with flu-like symptoms. The initial test came back OK but I was prompted to go back to the clinic when a niggly cough didn’t go away.
When I was diagnosed the initial tests were quite scary, I was trying to understand what viral load and cd4 counts were – and at the same time registering the results, 79,000 and 218 respectively. My head was a whirlwind of questions and concerns.
Luckily I started medication straight away and within three months I had an undetectable viral load and my cd4 count had risen above 300. I’d told a few friends by this point and met a guy who didn’t care about the virus – I didn’t know then but that relationship would last another six and a half years. I owe a lot to where I am now to my ex-partner, friends and family who have all shown me a tremendous amount of support over the past seven years.
Three years after my diagnosis I began to talk about it openly and started doing interviews with the media. I want to be able to dispel myths and breakdown the misconceptions that still exist.
I now work for a leading HIV organisation in the UK and love the fact that I am able to have a career in an area I am so passionate about. Living with HIV isn’t easy, but it has made me a stronger more confident person and I’ve made a better life for myself because of it.
To read more about Alex and visit his web-site, please visit https://alexsparrowhawk.com/