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alice79


Member

Posted Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 4:39pm Post subject: HIV stigma
I've followed with interest Stephen's program on HIV and as usual I found it real and informative.
Right after watching it I realize that I belong to a category of people that potentially could be affected by HIV.
I never seriously thought of having an HIV test done and this is because I've been in a stable relationship for the past 2 years and because I had unprotected sex only on a few isolated situations in my life with people I wouldn’t consider dangerous. The truth is how can I know?
I wouldn't certainly describe my life style as dangerous but let's face the truth...once could be just as dangerous as 100 times.
So I decided to have the test done but I couldn't imagine the sort of wall I had to face.
At the beginning I went to the medical surgery where I'm registered and ask at the desk if they could advice me of where to go.
After a long moment of embarrassment the secretary told me that it wasn’t exactly a routine test and I had to take an appointment with the doctor to talk about that.
So I decided to go to the nearest hospital to ask at the desk if they did do HIV tests or else if they could send me to the nearest one that did.
After another moment of embarrassment the secretary told me that she couldn't help me on that problem as she didn't know about any place at all.
Everybody was looking rather nervous and disturbed by my questions so I decided to follow the suggestions of the first secretary and book an appointment with the doctor to talk privately about my issue.

When I went to see the doctor and said that I wanted to have an HIV test done the first reaction was very surprised. Why on earth did I want to have THAT test done? So I just told her the truth about watching the program and realizing that I was a potential contractor of HIV.
She told me that in this country, I'm currently living in Wales, it's not very frequent to have people asking for it and if I was prepared to answer to an endless questionnaire about the reason why I was doing it.
She also mentioned that I could have been in some troubles later on if I decided to ask for a mortgage or a life insurance as "they" don't see very well people with a dangerous life style.
She then said that she thought I was quite brave and sensible in doing it, it was just unusual.
I was shocked! I found the whole situation so hypocrite! After watching the program, realizing how people underestimate the risk of having unprotected sex, finding out about the potential number of unaware affected people and then facing the real difficulty of trying to behave responsibly.

When I mentioned that I’m thinking of having kids and I would like them not to be the victims of my misbehaviours, I’ve been told that in that case I would have had all the tests done, including HIV test.
Just a bit too late!

Anyway here I'm trying to find out whether I'm affected or no and dealing with this rather scary stigma that doesn't seem to help the situation at all.

I seriously think that something has to be done to face the situation. Pretending that the problem just doesn’t exist it’s certainly not going to solve the problem.

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Hanny


Member

Posted Fri Oct 26th, 2007 1:54am Post subject: HIV stigma
You've explained perfectly why people are too scared or ashamed to ask for help or advice on such a taboo subject so thank you for sharing your experiance with us.
fortunatly i myself have never been in that situation and i hope i never am.

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alice79


Member

Posted Sun Oct 28th, 2007 10:00am Post subject: HIV stigma
I don't know exactly what you mean by saying that you have never been in that situation...whether you mean that you have never had unprotected sex in your life or you have never encountered any hostilities in trying to have an HIV test done.

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busy clippers


Member

Posted Fri Nov 2nd, 2007 9:38pm Post subject: HIV stigma
The fear and anxiety of not knowing can be difficult. Chances are that you don't have it. Most tests come back negative. Just go ahead and get an anonymous test. There must be some free testing offered near where you live, and if you need help finding something just ask and I will help. If you would like me to post a list of questions they ask at the screenings to determine your risk group, just let me know and I will do. I used to conduct the pre-test screenings and am fairly well-informed about the whole process.

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