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Personal story: Jesse

I told my mum, and I'm glad I did. She has been brilliant and so supportive!

African Ethnicity Young Man Portrait
Photo credit: ©iStock/FG Trade. Photos are used for illustrative purposes. They do not imply health status or behaviour.

"I was being sick all the time and had constant diarrhoea, bad stomach pains, loss of sleep, and night sweats. Up to this point I had always been reasonably healthy apart from the odd cold. My symptoms went on for weeks. I had tried to contact my doctor over this time, and the other doctors I spoke to just said it was a virus and gave me antibiotics and pain killers. I even ended up in hospital but got sent home as they said they couldn't find anything.

I remained ill for another three months before I finally got to speak to my doctor, who was very concerned and said she was going to send me for tests. At this point it was clear something was very wrong with me. She called me the next day and told me that my bloods had indicated I was HIV-positive. I started to cry; I couldn't believe it.

The doctor said I needed to have a second test to confirm and then she would refer me to an HIV clinic. I attended a sexual health clinic the same day. The nurse was brilliant, she confirmed the result. Again, I was crying. How could it be? How would I tell my family? I just didn't know what to do.

I went home and broke down. I told my mum, and I'm glad I did. She has been brilliant and so supportive. I know I'm lucky, as not everyone gets support from their families. For the same reason, I can't tell my stepdad because people don't understand and there are still views that you’re filthy or promiscuous if you have HIV. It's not the case at all.

I was feeling so scared that I was going to die because of the stage I'm at. I just kept getting upset and depressed. I've now been to the clinic and my specialist is amazing. She reassured all my worries. I've started treatment and although I still have sickness, I feel that I will be ok."

What we say

Jesse was shocked when he found out he had HIV, but with support from his health care worker he was able to come to terms with his diagnosis and start treatment. Finding out you have HIV can bring up difficult feelings, and you may have questions about what it means for you. Remember, with the right treatment and support, an HIV diagnosis doesn’t have to stop you living a full and healthy life. Learn more on our Newly diagnosed with HIV page.

Do you have your own story to tell? Click the link to share it with us!

These personal stories have been submitted to us anonymously by individuals who use our site. Some of the stories have been edited for clarity purposes and names have been changed to protect identities.

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  • Last updated: 14 November 2022
  • Last full review: 01 March 2022
  • Next full review: 01 March 2025
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