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Personal story: Catherine

There's a life beyond being HIV positive

Catherine shares her story about finding out she was born with HIV and dealing with depression, before starting treatment.
Photo credit: ©iStock/Kupicoo. Photos are used for illustrative purposes. They do not imply health status or behaviour.

"I only discovered that I was HIV positive in 2013 when I was just 14 years old. I had never been in any accidents or in any sexual relationship that can transmit the virus. Then I realised I was born with it.

Well I felt bad because I was never told that I was born positive. I was depressed, nothing made sense in life. I thought it was a death sentence. I even attempted suicide by drinking doom but thankfully I survived.

I started treatment of ART in 2019 till now and I am alive, strong, healthy and fit. 

My message to those living with HIV or those who were never told like me is that there's a life beyond being HIV positive - it's not a death sentence. Start ART, take your medication properly, eat healthy, and enjoy life.

Stigma is there but just know who you are. Know you are still worthy, accept your situation, don't live in denial or you will be depressed.

Be in the know like me."

What we say

Finding out you were born with HIV can be difficult to hear and understand. But as Catherine says – HIV is not a death sentence – taking treatment will regain your health. See our page on Being young and positive 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: 25 July 2022
  • Next full review: 25 July 2023
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