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Personal story: Anele

Don't be scared to tell people close to you, after all it’s just a medical condition

Portrait of a confident young businessman working in a modern office
Photo credit: ©iStock/PeopleImages. Photos are used for illustrative purposes. They do not imply health status or behaviour.

"About two years ago I started losing weight. I had night sweats every night and started feeling a bit lethargic. So, I googled it, and what should come up top of the list, HIV.  I left it a few weeks, but I was still losing weight, and having bad night sweats. Instead of going to the clinic, I decided to buy a self-testing kit. It turned up and I did my test, it came back positive for HIV. The next day I went to the clinic, to confirm my results. On my way there, I was having visions of the taking 30 pills a day, throwing up all the time. My viral load was in the millions, and CD4 count was 80. So, I caught it just in time.

I had my HIV status confirmed and was started on treatment. I only had to take one pill a day - I was relieved and felt that that was quite a good start - no need to take pills 24/7. Within a week I was feeling much more active. I decided to take my medication at 10pm, as it was better for me to take it just before bed. I asked about drinking, as that would have been a bummer if I had had to give that up completely. But the health care worker said it wasn’t a problem at all, they just told me not to drink so much that I forget to take my medication. Awesome.

Rather than keep it a secret, I chose to tell all my family and friends. They were a bit panicked at first, but soon they just forgot about it. It's simply not an issue. A few mates mention it occasionally, but they soon get bored with the subject and move on. I think if I had kept it a secret, it would have played on my mind more and probably made me quite depressed. I even told a first date up front and we're still going strong 18 months later.
So, if you've just been diagnosed, you can either worry about it, or you can reprogram your head and think of yourself of being a bit special.  Don't be scared to tell people close to you, after all it’s just a medical condition. Look after your HIV, and it won’t come and kick you in the arse. Take your pill on time every day, and its plain sailing.  I often think that there are worse things that could have happened to me.

It's actually surprisingly easy if you have the right frame of mind... you kind of wonder what all the fuss is about 

Good luck."

What we say

Lots of people worry and try to guess how people will react when they tell them that they have HIV but remember people’s responses can be surprising. In Anele’s case, his friends and family didn’t seem to care that he had HIV, in fact after a while it seemed they had all forgotten. Read our sharing your HIV status page for more information.

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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