My names Shane, I’m 26 and I was diagnosed HIV positive in June 2011.
I found out about my HIV status after popping along to my local clinic for a regular sexual health check up. I had no physical symptoms and everything seemed to go pretty well. Ordinarily results were texted through a week after your visit, but on this visit they informed me their text service was down. So they suggested I make an appointment to go back the following week to collect my results to save me having to wait an agonising 4 weeks.
A week passed fairly quickly and on the day of my appointment I arrived and took a seat in the waiting area. I was called into a side room. However the nurse that saw me thought I was there for more tests, instantly I was thinking he must have me confused with someone else. I immediately felt something was not right but never the less told him I was only there to collect my results!…’Ok’ he said scrolling down on his computer screen… he then turned to me and just blurted out ‘so your HIV test came back positive’!
As I composed myself and wiped away the tears streaming down my face. The only way I can describe the feeling is complete numbness. A million and one things ran through my mind, but so fast that I couldn’t process a single thought… it was a complete blur looking back. As I left the clinic I remember only just managed to hold back the tears as I walked back through the busy waiting room, desperately trying to hide any signs that I had just been given the worst news possible. I just wanted to run away.
At that point the main thing screaming out in my mind was: how do I tell my partner?
I couldn’t think straight let alone come up with a sensitive way to break the news, so eventually I just came straight out with it… I’ve just tested positive for HIV!
Despite his initial shock and disbelief, I have to say his reaction was very admirable. I had expected him to run a mile! But he didn’t. He stood by me and became my rock over the days that followed, I honestly don’t know how I would have got through it without him by my side!
Finding out that I was HIV positive is without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with and I’m sure I will still be dealing with the reality of having HIV for the rest of my life one way or another. Since being diagnosed last year, I’ve been through an array of different emotions …shock, depression, fear, anger and feeling dirty. Asking myself ‘why me?’, what had I done to deserve this?
The answer although often hard to admit is quite simple…I was unsafe and its only with hindsight that I look back now and wish I’d listened to the advice that so many of us choose to ignore!
Prior to my diagnosis I had heard of HIV, but my knowledge was very limited. I was aware it was a virus and that there was no cure. That it was mainly transmitted through having unprotected sex or via oral sex if you were really unlucky!
It wasn’t until I was faced with the reality of testing positive that I was educating myself on the ins and outs of the virus.
For me it’s too little too late… but for many of you out there it is not too late! If I could give one piece of advice to you all, it would be to know your status.
I was infected by someone who didn’t know they had the virus! Imagine coming to terms with being diagnosed, and then having to deal with the fact you have given it to someone else! Unimaginable!
Take action today for World AIDS Day and tweet #1share1condom.