Globally, over 35 million people are living with HIV, out of which 16 percent are not aware of it. HIV is caused due to a wide array of reasons and blood transfusion and sex are most popular.
In an interview with Ryan (Name Changed), a 23 year old student from New Jersey. He shares his experience and how he got HIV.
• How old were you when you were diagnosed with HIV?
I was 19 years old.
• How did you know that something was wrong?
I developed flu - like symptoms such as fever, sore throat and often had fatigue. For a couple of weeks, I thought it as flu and did not pay much heed to it.
In a few weeks, I started having muscle aches and joint pains. This was when I realized that this was something serious. I did a little bit of internet research and discovered that these might be the initial symptoms of HIV. However, nothing was certain right then.
• How did you feel when you were diagnosed with HIV?
I felt terrible. That report containing the result of my blood tests seemed haunted for a moment. That was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. I asked god - "Why Me?" I cursed myself and did not step out of my doorstep for several months. My parents were devastated when they got to know about this. They sort of disowned me.
• How did you contract HIV?
I am not really sure about this. I was involved with multiple partners during my high school and that was when it might have got transmitted. One thing that surprised me was that I always used protection and still got HIV.
One thing that I have learnt from this experience is that a protection like condom isn't a 100 percent safe when it comes to prevention of transmission of HIV.
• Did HIV make you hesitant to start new relationships?
Yes indeed. I am not able to meet girls and interact with them as freely as I used to earlier. Everything has changed. I have turned down one - night stands, abstained from engaging in any sort of a sexual activity with a friend or get into a relationship.
I broke up with my girlfriend as soon as I got to know about being HIV positive, although I did not tell her about the exact reason.
• What changes did you bring about in your lifestyle after being contracted with HIV?
I maintain a very healthy lifestyle and make sure that I stay in a hygienic atmosphere. I don't stay up late at night and sleep on time. I have absolutely quit smoking and consumption of alcohol.
It is very likely that ordinary people fail to understand what you are going through. In this case STD dating sites are certainly a ray of hope and encouragement.