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.

The GGD nurse advised me to make sure my insurance coverage was set up properly before I went to the hospital for my HIV. I threw myself completely into getting my insurance in order. I tried not to think about my feelings. After that came a phase where I was totally despondent, and I became addicted to XTC and cocaine. That came out of dissatisfaction with myself, but my HIV was also involved. At the end, I was using every day and had nearly hit rock bottom. I thought: everything is falling apart. I was admitted to hospital with a panic attack. That was a turning point in my life. Afterwards, I started being much more aware about my life. I have done various forms of psychotherapy, not just to deal with my drug use, but also my homosexuality and my HIV. HIV had damaged my self-confidence.

Now I feel very positive about my life with HIV. I have no difficulty at all with it physically. It’s easy for me to take the pills. Once I’ve developed a bond with a guy, then I want to tell him. I still find that difficult but it’s getting easier all the time.

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