Jewel 39, Straight, Auckland
I met my first true love at age 16, and we stayed together until I was 20. At the age of 21 I decided to get a whole lot of sexual health checks done. One of the tests was an HIV test. When I went back for the results, they gave me a positive one. All that I remember in that moment is thinking that my life was over, that no man would ever love me again, and there’d be no children in my life.
Some of the stigma that I’ve faced since my diagnosis, is people thinking that I deserved to get this virus. Some people think that you need to be promiscuous or using needles to contract the virus; I don’t fit the stereotypes. Because of my status I’ve had people judge me, and have had people not want to be around me. I have been offered jobs, and subsequently been rejected from them when my potential employer found out about my status. I’ve had some people ask me out, and then never rang me again once I’ve told them my status. Mainly the stigma I’ve faced is just people being ignorant, and not knowing about the virus.
Some of the positive stories that have come from my diagnosis are that I’ve learnt who my real friends are, I’ve found the people that care about me, and I’ve gotten closer to my family. I’ve also learnt to love myself, and I’ve learnt to accept myself no matter what.
H is for Human. If you are a human, this virus can affect you. If it is given a chance it will. Educate yourself, and educate your peers and your family, and make sure you look after everybody as well.
Help us provide crucial services and support to Kiwis living with and affected by HIV.