In 2014, I was diagnosed with HIV. This was after a year of falling sick randomly and having all sorts of unexplained symptoms. When I received the diagnosis, I was devastated. My life nearly fell apart, because I wondered how I was going to survive.
Would I get married and have kids? Would I be able to stay healthy? Would I be able to work? These are just a few of the questions that run through my mind as I contemplated my existence, and future. Now, I will not go into details about how I contracted the virus. In fact, till date, I am still not sure of how it all happened.
Fastforward to today, I am happily married, and expecting my first child in 4 months! My wife is HIV Negative and that means my baby will also be born without HIV. I never thought this would be possible. But thanks to treatment that was started by my doctor, I have achieved all this.
Frankly, it’s not been an easy road. Having to deal with side effects of the medications, losing weight and struggling to gain it back, and having people constantly ask me what was wrong with me (I knew secretly in their heads, they suspected me).
A few years into my diagnosis, I found love and when I was certain about her I disclosed my status to her. Luckily, she recovered from the shock, and accepted me after reading a lot about the disease and updating herself. And she’s kept my secret to herself (whew!).
Undectectable = Untransmittable. I guess that’s the luckiest thing that happened to people who are HIV positive and marry HIV negative partners (not to say you cannot marry an HIV positive partner). And now, although I take care to use protection anytime I have sex with my wife, I am comforted that the chances of me transmitting the virus to her whilst I remain on effective medication is less than 90%. The medicines have affected me in some small ways. I suffered mild damage to my liver and had minor kidney issues. But I’m alive and my dreams are taking shape, and if I had the chance to live my life again, I probably wouldn’t make too many different choices.
HIV is not here to stay. Who knows, a cure may be found in a few years to come. But what gives me hope is that there is life beyond HIV, if only you would open your mind to it, and you can live well and achieve your dreams to the best of your ability.
So have faith. Believe in yourself. and live positively, happily and keep hope!
(Submitted by Mark, 36 years)