18 items tagged "personal testimonials"

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You have to be authentic

Kente Ayo came from Kenya to Holland. He feels good, but he is concerned about the people in his homeland, and he criticizes the European way of portraying them.

“When I arrived in Holland I was aware of my HIV. I feel balanced and healthy. I take medication; sometimes it feels like I'm constantly going to the hospital, but regular checkups are important. Many people think that attending doctors and going to health centres is difficult. But for me it is not; the only difference is the theme: HIV.”

Brenda (14)

student
boyfriend: not any more
children: none
HIV+: 14 years
HIV meds: 13 years
viral load: undetectable
CD4-cell count: 627

I’m such a chatterbox
When I was one year old, my mother fled with me from the civil war in Rwanda. My mother was admitted to hospital in the Netherlands with AIDS. Then she passed away. I also had AIDS. The medication came in time for me though, and it’s worked so well that I no longer say that I have AIDS, but that I’m HIV positive. A few months before my mother passed away I went to live with a foster family and I still live there now.

Gary (34)

technical services coordinator at an IT company
boyfriend: 3 years
children: none
HIV+: 1 year
HIV meds: none
viral load: 1,200
CD4-cell count: 400

It’s not nearly as bad as I had thought
After I had been in a relationship for a half year, my boyfriend told me he had HIV. I was angry that he hadn’t told me sooner. But I do understand how difficult it is to tell someone – there is never a right moment for it. I was also angry because we’d had unprotected sex. I can’t believe he put me at risk! But it was also partly my fault: I never asked any questions when we stopped using condoms. Now I’ve accepted it. I was afraid that I would become terribly ill and die soon after. Now I’m well informed. It’s not nearly as bad as I had thought.

Floor (37)

customer service representative at a bank
boyfriend: 7 years
children: 2 daughters (9 and 10)
HIV+: 4 years
HIV meds: 3 year
viral load: undetectable
CD4-cell count: 650

We’re linked to each other by the virus
I had an on-and-off relationship for a while; that was pretty tough going. When we’d broken up for two months at one point, he was seeing other women. After we got back together, one of those women rang him up to say she had HIV. It turned out my boyfriend had it too. I thought: I’m never ill, so it won’t happen to me. Still, I went to the doctor to get tested.

Noah (23)

student
boyfriend: none
children: none
HIV+: 4 years
HIV meds: 5 months
viral load: nearly undetectable
CD4-cell count: 400

It’s difficult to tell a guy once I’ve already developed a bond with him
I got into a relationship when I was eighteen. After two months, he told me he had heard he had HIV a few weeks before. At first I was mainly concerned about him. We had had unsafe sex. When I went to the GGD (municipal health services) for an HIV test, it turned out I also had HIV. It felt like my whole world was collapsing. I thought my life was over. I realised that I in fact knew very little about it. I was afraid I would never be able to have another relationship.

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