Kevin’s Story – My Life with HIV

Posted on April 8, 2014 by drtan

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This blog entry was reposted from The Adventures of POZboySG

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Kevin’s Story – My Life with HIV

Kevin is a 25-year old young man who has just recently graduated from university. A well-rounded individual, Kevin has always been a straight ‘A’ student and attended some of the top schools in Singapore, in addition to his dedicated involvement to his tennis training. A well-educated and a fine-looking young man, he is always the life of any party he attends. It has been almost one year since Kevin tested positive. Having had gone for HIV tests before, albeit anonymously, they were always without a thought or worry. For that particular fated anonymous test, of which Kevin tested positive, he had engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse with someone he met online, and he added, “I simply had a gut feeling that something was amiss.” Kevin then continues, “When the counsellor told me the ‘basic’ test showed I was positive, I’d expected it. There wasn’t much denial or fierce rejection of the idea, though I must admit I was a bit dismayed that my hopes of being ‘Negative’ didn’t pull through. I simply resigned to the fact that I was positive – even the counsellor felt that I took it very well.” Kevin, as with many other HIV-positive, young university-going Singaporeans, are living their lives with HIV in total secrecy. Kevin has chosen not to inform his family and tried his very best to keep his diagnosis hush-hush. As I tell you his story, Kevin is not planning to tell his parents anytime in the near future, unless societal norms and circumstances change for the better. Kevin adds his thoughts with regards to disclosing one’s HIV status to family members, “I would actually say, ‘Don’t tell anyone if possible’. In a society like Singapore, living with HIV/AIDS has such a heavy stigma—that it is sometimes a burden even to yourself—so the lesser people who are in the know, the better. Call me cynical, but you can never be too sure how your status can be used against you. And if you want to tell your parents, you have to be prepared for the worst; they may turn their backs on you, and destroying that basic family unit of care and support isn’t going to do any newly diagnosed HIV+ person well.” Kevin however, has chosen to tell just one friend about his condition, me, because I am HIV-positive as well and he felt he could count on me – isn’t he such a sweet boy!?. While Kevin is still strongly against telling people one’s (positive) status, there are a few ‘positive but anonymous’ people out there who are willing to lend a helping hand, or listening ear, should you need it, be it directly or via a created anonymous persona. For a newly diagnosed PLHIV, Kevin still has quite a considerably high CD4* count of 577 and is currently not required to be on HIV antiretroviral therapy drug regimens yet. To keep healthy and fit, he immerses himself with weight training at the gym in addition to his tennis activities. Kevin takes health supplements such as Vitamin B complex and Selenium tablets to keep his CD4 level in check. Being quite an image-concious, vivacious young man that he is, Kevin also watches what he eats very strictly. He worries about starting medications though, mostly about the side-effects and financial burden it may have on himself since he is just starting to join the workforce. “For that period—after my unprotected encounter—I was simply distracted because I was unclear of my status, i.e. my state of health.” Kevin advises his readers, especially those are out who are afraid or worried about a ‘positive’ outcome to overcome that fear and get tested. At least you’ll have a confirmation, remember, the HIV testing window period applies, and you are able to plan ahead on how to maintain, or improve, your current state of health. And most importantly, Kevin believes that at least you have the choice of doing the ‘right’ thing to your partner, should you have one i.e. by protecting him/her. Before ending his personal story, Kevin adds, “To those who are newly positive: live life like you’re ‘negative’. Being positive doesn’t change who you are; people living with HIV are still human too. Do not reject yourself, or the illness—for if you cannot accept yourself, how will you expect others to accept you? And I hope you may one day find someone can love and accept you wholly.”