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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Frank (43)

businessman
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.

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Janice (34)

telephonist/receptionist
boyfriend: 3 months
children: 2 daughters (5 and 14)
HIV+: 9 years
HIV meds: 6 years
viral load: undetectable
CD4-cell count: 370

I don’t want to make a secret of it
Nine years ago, my boyfriend because seriously ill and was admitted to hospital. There it became clear he had AIDS. He passed away shortly thereafter. It turned out I also had HIV. I was in shock. I thought I’d soon die too, just as my boyfriend had. The news about my boyfriend and me spread like wildfire through the community. Everyone knew right away what was going on. Even today, I still don’t know how we got it. I never had had an affair and he never said anything about that either. Luckily, my daughter didn’t have HIV.

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Willem (42)

businessman
partner: 6 years
children: none
HIV+: 1 year
HIV meds: a half year
viral load: undetectable
CD4-cell count: 480

I got my HIV sorted within a short time
A year ago I was having problems with a burning sensation when I urinated. I went for an STI test at an STI outpatient clinic in the hospital. They also tested me for HIV. I assumed that everything was okay, since I didn’t have it six months before. One morning a week later, the doctor rang me up. I was in the office so I walked outside. ‘Could you come back for another visit? You have chlamydia. And you also have HIV.’

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Ekoy (35)

assimilating into Dutch society
married: 7 years
children: one daughter (5)
HIV+: 3 years
HIV meds: 3 years
viral load: undetectable
CD4-cell count: 90

I had to start taking antiretrovirals right away
I had to flee the war in Sudan when I was nineteen. Later on, I had to flee again. It was too risky to take my baby with me, so I had to leave her behind. I lived in refugee camps for more than ten years. During that time I received an education. I did HIV counselling and took care of many people with HIV. In Africa, people with HIV are excluded from the community. Finally, I came to the Netherlands.

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Marinus (37)

restaurant manager
boyfriend: none... unfortunately
children: none
HIV+: 10 years
HIV meds: 10 years
viral load: undetectable
CD4-cell count: 956

My health is doing very well
My father is Surinamese. My Surinamese side? I like spicy food and I’m a sociable person. Everyone is welcome to drop in and to stay for dinner. That’s the way I was brought up. And I believe I’m a good dancer. At the beginning my family reacted emotionally of course. After all, it is still a serious illness. But now everyone is well informed and it’s not such a big issue any more. At birthday parties I’m always asked about my health. After I’ve been to the hospital for a check up and they’ve told me all is well, I tell my family that I’ve again passed inspection.

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Saskia (35)

care worker with the mentally impaired
boyfriend: none
children: one daughter (15 months old)
HIV+: 4 years
HIV meds: none
viral load: not concerned about it
CD4-cell count: 800

I wasn’t permitted to breastfeed my baby
I only had unsafe sex once, my very first time with a man. I didn’t realise what the risk was till later. Pretty naive, you could say. A year later I had a relationship with another man from Kenya. I told him about it right away. He reacted very openly and wasn’t distant. When I got back to the Netherlands, I discovered I was pregnant. Apparently I’m easily susceptible to everything!

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Pauline (35)

coordinates speakers for dance4life
boyfriend: 3 months
children: none
HIV+: 3 years
HIV meds: 4 months
viral load: undetectable
CD4-cell count: 720

I was totally in shock
Three years ago, I suddenly developed all kinds of symptoms, all within a week. I was totally weakened and had a fever of over forty degrees. My doctor sent me to the hospital casualty department. I collapsed there in the waiting room. When I came to, there was an internist standing next to my hospital bed. I wanted to know what the hell was going on. They thought it might be an HIV infection. I said that was impossible because coincidentally I had been tested a few weeks before and all was okay.

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Robin (24)

communications consultant
boyfriend: 4 months
children: none
HIV+: 8 months
HIV meds: none
viral load: 22,000
CD4-cell count: 460

It was really very unexpected to suddenly have the grand prize
When I began studying, I started getting tested for STIs and HIV every six months. I thought I was well informed about what is and isn’t safe. Fifteen times without a single STI, so it was really very unexpected to suddenly have the grand prize. I still haven’t come to terms with it. I really don’t understand it.

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Contact

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Eerste Helmersstraat 17

1054 CX AMSTERDAM

020 6 160 160

servicepunt@hivnet.org
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Servicepunt

020 689 25 77
servicepunt@hivnet.org


For questions about living with HIV. Available monday, tuesday and thursday from 2 PM till 10 PM

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