Living With HIV

living with HIV Just wanted to highlight a great interview from The Courier Mail sharing towo people’s story on what it’s like living with HIV.

“I was diagnosed with HIV in April 2010. I contracted it by using substances. I was very familiar with HIV anyway because I had lots of HIV positive friends. When I told one of my HIV positive I also had it, he was like, ‘I’m not that surprised’. In those inner city circles in the gay community it’s quite common.

I’m sure my experience is definitely not as bad as other people’s. But on the flip side I didn’t receive a lot of support because the people around me were so used to seeing people with HIV and they thought it was normal.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced is treatment-related depression. The first drug I was put onto in early 2012 cause really severe depression. It’s called Atripla. There are three drugs in that one tablet and one of the drugs — Efavirenz — caused really bad depression within a few days. Looking back, I probably wasn’t super happy before I started taking it, but I was functional. When they first prescribed me the drug they said depression was not an unusual side-effect. In fact probably the majority of people on it have had some kind of psychological side-effect.

Treatments are now very effective in helping suppress the HIV virus that makes living with HIV as routine as taking a pill on a daily basis and having quarterly check-ups.

By far the most important step is to know your HIV status by getting a HIV test.

If you have any worries or concerns about HIV be sure to speak with your local sexual health clinic or HIV friendly doctor.


Dr George Forgan-Smith

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