Some days I like to think to myself that it was a completely different life 8 years ago when I was diagnosed with HIV. Dad took me in to see my GP who had been trying to get hold of me for 4 days. After a minute of silence in her office and a brief chat about what it is I got back in the car where Dad waited for me and we went straight home so that he could google HIV and learn about this virus which so many people don’t understand.

The last 8 years have not been a walk in the park for me. At the start of my diagnosis I lost friends and chances of relationships, there were days where I didn’t want to get out of bed and I did consider suicide. I know that if it weren’t for my family and close friends I wouldn’t be where I am today. I knew that I had to use my mistake as a chance to educate people and show them that it really can happen to anyone, I once thought that I was invincible too.

I am lucky enough now that I have a job that I love, a life that I’m living and an amazing husband to share it with.  My last doctor’s appointment discussed finally starting me on anti-retrovirals at some stage early this year which I do worry about but I also know that no matter what, I have the support that I need to get me through anything.

Real People

  • 👤

    Charlie

  • 📝 31, Gay, Auckland
  • "HIV isn’t a cause for shame or some dirty little secret... I firmly believe that the more honesty and frank discussion we have about HIV, the better."
  • 👤

    Judith

  • 📝 42, Straight, Hamilton
  • "You can live with the virus, but the stigma will kill you emotionally. I encourage you to talk about HIV; that is the only way we can fight the stigma."
  • 👤

    Lance

  • 📝 45, Gay, Wellington
  • "We are people living with a chronic illness, but we are normal people, worthy of love and respect. It's time to start talking about this disease."
  • 👤

    Gayle

  • 📝 52, Straight, Southland
  • "My message is that people are people. New Zealand thinks it’s Godzone, but it’s a little bit closed-minded. We needed to accept each other and love each other."
  • 👤

    Michael

  • 📝 63, Gay, Auckland
  • "As far as I’m concerned, I don’t have the problem – you have the problem. Because you need to learn to accept the way I am, because I’m no different, it’s just that I carry HIV."
  • 👤

    Jan

  • 📝 67, Straight, Southland
  • "I was lucky that I wasn’t treated any differently... I think that because of the way I was infected I didn’t suffer from the stigma that often goes along with an HIV infection."
  • 👤

    Shane

  • 📝 55, Straight, Northland
  • "Most people have a 1970’s/80s perspective of HIV. I’m on one pill a day for the rest of my life, and as long as I stick to that, I expect I’ll live to 90. "
  • 👤

    Jewel

  • 📝 39, Straight, Auckland
  • "Some of the positive stories that have come from my HIV diagnosis are that I’ve learnt who my real friends are and I’ve gotten closer to my family. I’ve also learnt to love myself."
  • 👤

    Campbell

  • 📝 24, Gay, Sydney
  • "To those who have HIV, like me: you are normal, you are loved, you matter and you are important. Together we can dust off the cobwebs of over 30 years of stigma."
  • 👤

    Twiggy

  • 📝 Female, Straight, Sister
  • "Families are forever."
  • 👤

    Rhys

  • 📝 31, Gay, Auckland
  • "No matter what, I have the support that I need to get me through anything."