AIDS Affairs - Diagnosed with HIV
I am 18 years old and I dropped out of school at the age of 12. I had to take care of myself because my parents went to live abroad and I was left with my grandmother, who was a very cruel woman. At age 14, I went on the street, some nights I had sex with as much as six men. I made a lot of money and I was very happy. In February of this year I started feeling ill. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with the AIDS virus. Right now, I am confused. I am angry and I feel like all my hopes, and dreams are gone. What can I do with my life at 18, especially when I am infected with a deadly disease? What am I to expect? This came as a shock to me. I am so disappointed with myself, if only I knew. These men were for the most part very controlling and I just could not mention condom to them. Counsellor, I really need you; I have no one to talk with.
Young and Confused Teen
Dear Young and Confused Teen,
First, I must let you know how sorry I am to hear of your experience, which left you with a virus for which there is no cure. It is very natural for you to react with a wide range of emotional issues, such as shock, anger, anxiety, fear, helplessness, guilt, uncertainty, embarrassment, or even a sense of isolation. All these feelings are normal.
Right now, the most important step to take is to find emotional support. You must talk about your test result with someone you trust. There are support groups and counselling for people who have tested HIV-positive, who can provide you with much information about HIV/AIDS. A support group will work with you to help you through all the emotional feelings you are experiencing. You will need to see a doctor who is experience in treating persons living with HIV. Importantly as well, is the whole issue of safer sex practices; you must start practicing safer sex, this is important to your physical and mental health.
I am in a relationship with a married man, who is a doctor. His wife and children live overseas and visit Jamaica often. Recently, he came to me and accused me of exposing him to HIV. Now, I am extremely worried because I never in all my life had sex with anyone else besides him. When I met him, I was fresh out of university and was a virgin. I wanted to remain that way, but he lied to me and I just continue with him because I love him. Now I am having nightmares. What should I do?
Dear Worried Girlfriend,
You must get tested for HIV right away. The test can be done through a private doctor's office or at a public clinic. Remember that just because your boyfriend says you infected him with HIV does not mean that you are infected with HIV. The test is the only method that can be used to determine your HIV status. You should start practising safer sex; remember, only you can protect you. You have that personal responsibility of protecting your sexual health.
For more information on condom use, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, call the AIDS/STD Helpline toll free at 1888-991-4444.