Brief interview with J, 2013

Eddystone: When were you diagnosed with HIV?

J: 1991. I didn’t know it was a killer then. I felt confused when they told me. I asked: “Why?" and “how can you get it without condoms?” I have learning difficulties, you see, and I didn’t know that you had to wear them.

"I felt confused when they told me. I asked: 'Why?'"

Eddystone: Who did you tell?

J: Nobody at first. Others at the clinic knew that something was going on. I told my mum, but I couldn’t tell my dad as he was very ill. So, I left a note to my mum on the mantlepiece. She wouldn’t talk about it and I could tell that she had been crying. She wouldn’t talk to me. She wouldn’t have a chat. It was difficult, if felt like hiding behind a curtain. It was really really awful. If I told anyone else, it would go round so I kept it quiet. I started to go to the day centre for people with HIV. They were really, really good but they have all closed now.

"It was difficult, if felt like hiding behind a curtain. (I thought) if I told anyone else, it would go round so I kept it quiet."

Eddystone: What would you say to someone thinking about going for an HIV test?

J: Wear a condom. Everyone must - every time. Keep on going, keep moving.

If you are positive, you need to speak to someone as soon as; don't hide away, don’t isolate yourself. Talk to an advisor at Eddystone or the hospital, they can help and do help people. They can put you in touch with others who understand.

"Wear a condom. Everyone must - every time. If you are positive, you need to speak to someone as soon as; don't hide away, don’t isolate yourself."

Go for it though - test. You’ll never know if you’re HIV positive or not. A friend of mine wasn’t using condoms and I told him to go to GUM. Good job; he had something. He was panicking, but that’s what you get. Get regular check-ups, look after yourself and don’t stop.