Frank (43)

girlfriend: casual relationship
children: none
HIV+: 16 years
HIV meds: 7 years
viral load: undetectable
CD4-cell count: about 700

Once I start riding my bike, my tiredness disappears
When I first heard I had HIV, it took me was out of the running for a while. People around me kept asking when I was going to start riding my bike competitively again. Giving evasive answers was really getting to me. The feeling we were trapped was giving my girlfriend nightmares. That’s when I decided to give people honest answers when they ask me questions. I took the risk that people would be shocked or even reject me, but it turned out very positively.

I think people really appreciate my openness and respect it. I’ve received many positive reactions to newspaper interviews and to a television documentary in which I told my story. People with HIV who didn’t know how to deal with it got in contact with me. I’ve accepted my HIV; it’s part of me. People almost never ask how I got it or how I’m really feeling. But maybe they ask my girlfriend about that, because they know I always say I’m doing fine.

This summer I wanted to ride my bike to Italy, but everyone around me advised against it because I was so tired. I’m really into sports. Ten years ago I was Dutch national champion in amateur cyclo-cross racing and I now manage a professional team of cyclo-crossers. I myself ride two to four times a week. Once I start riding my bike, the tiredness disappears. I look at everything from a positive perspective. I’d give my health a score of 81⁄2 out of 10. I’m able to do the things I want to do. But I do have to get more rest and I get less exercise than I would like. I’m not happy about that, but I’m not going to let it get the best of me. I make my plans, try to reach my goals and I enjoy myself along the way.


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