Many people don’t test for HIV because they’re scared of a positive result, they don’t think HIV affects them or they don’t think they’ve been at risk or are vulnerable to HIV. In support of National HIV testing week, read David's story of receiving a positive HIV diagnosis and what happens afterwards.
My name is Sue and I have been diagnosed with HIV since March 1997, at the age of 25. When I first went to the clinic to ask for a test I was told that I wasn’t in a ‘high risk’ group. As I wasn’t a drug user, I wasn’t having ‘promiscuous’ sex and I was a white European. I still went ahead and had the test and the rest is history.
Can I have my children tested?’ I managed to mumble those words. The doctor had just given me my HIV test results; I was positive... I couldn’t agree more with Rhonda Britten in Fearless Leaving: ‘Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents that would otherwise have lain dormant.’ The struggle continues, but I now know there is more to me than the HIV.
I was 24. I was living in NY, was enrolled in film school, and had undertaken the first half of my film degree. I had been living there for five years, spent the first three married to an architect, and when our marriage floundered had found myself young, free and single in the Big Apple.
I still remember the very cold January morning; I was not listening to the pre-counselling, I thought it did not concern me. I just wanted to get the test done and over with… Then came the shock! My life changed in a matter of seconds.
My official diagnosis was in 1989. I then took another test in 1990 in the UK to confirm the legitimacy of it. At first, I felt disbelief that I was infected. I thought, ‘how could I have been so stupid?’... the first positive woman I spoke to gave me a hug and I burst into tears; I couldn’t stop myself!
I was 24, in my final year at college and was planning to go to university when I was diagnosed HIV positive in a small town in Yorkshire. I had been for the test having had a sero-conversion illness some months earlier. I received pre-test counselling for about an hour and the counsellor went through some of the issues and made an appointment for me to come back in two weeks’ time.