I was diagnosed with HIV on 23/09/2013 following some blood tests for some medication I was going to start for eczema. It was a huge shock and something i never expected. It hit me hard and I was very emotional for a number of weeks. I struggled with my emotions for at least 12 months during which I saw a psychologist who diagnosed me with PTSD.
I disclosed my status via Facebook only 9 weeks after diagnosis, it wasn’t something I had dealt with fully but in my head it felt right. I was given so much love and support and I am so proud to have such supportive people around me.
Around Christmas 2013 whilst I was struggling with emotions I posted anonymously on a forum website. A number of people responded. One of which I started communicating with. He is negative but was extremely understanding and supportive. I wasn’t looking for romance, but I found it in this person. 3 years later we are very happy together and I couldn’t be happier.
As I slowly grew accustomed to my new status I started to volunteer with a HIV and Sexual Health Charity here in the UK providing support to people online who are living with HIV. In the local area I recognized the lack of support services. Myself and a friend started to put plans into place and have recently completed a massively successful year for a local HIV social support group including being nominated for a British LGBT Award.
An HIV diagnosis can be difficult particularly emotionally especially when some in society are judgmental. It can be lonely at times too. However, as I have found I have made amazing friends, I found love and I have provided support to same amazingly strong people who are now living successfully with HIV.
I would say to anyone who is diagnosed with HIV to seek support whether through official support groups or people you may know who are living with HIV. The support of people who have been through a diagnosis is something that you can’t replace, they know, they understand.