HIV man sold drugs to buy food

Datepositive launches a new series of case studies to highlight the challenges and difficulties that people with STDs often face. We hope that by profiling these stories we help raise awareness, remove stigmas, and bring about additional support for people with STDs

A man who was diagnosed with HIV had to turn to a life of crime in order to support himself.

Michael* told www.datepositive.net that he felt he had no choice but to sell drugs to provide an income for himself while he was very ill after diagnosis.

Michael worked in the construction industry but became too ill to support himself after suffering from pneumonia and being in hospital for six weeks.

“When I returned home I was so poor I couldn’t put food on the table. I applied for support but was turned down.”

The 40 year old from Scotland was diagnosed with HIV about five years ago and suspects he became HIV positive about 10 years ago.

“The support from HIV charities for people who are HIV positive is very poor,” he said. “I think particularly in Scotland it is something that needs looking at.

“The NHS has been fantastic but the charities just kept referring me from one organisation to another and there was no financial support whatsoever.”

Michael has since began drug therapy and is now in fairly good health and able to work.

“If you don’t live in a large urban centre then it is very difficult to find support,” he continued. “What is needed is financial and emotional support and everything else that you need during that time, and it seems to be worse up here.”

Michael also spoke about the stigma attached to having an STD and said that it had been difficult for him to meet new people.

“My experience is that people have an immature view of sex. Some people still view it as dirty and in part that accounts for the stigma attached to STDs.”

Michael told some close friends about his status but they rejected him. However, recently he has found some close friends and felt better about life.

He has been a member of www.datepositive.net for quite a few months and said: “I think the website is a good idea because it helps you talk to other people like yourself and that can only be a good thing.”

His is trying to sell his house and move to the south of England to try to meet like-minded people and, hopefully, that special partner. He’s hopeful that he will meet new friends and possibly a partner on the site.

“I want to meet a woman who his HIV positive, otherwise it will be too difficult to have a relationship. I have had a few relationships since diagnosis, but they have not worked out.”

*Michael is a member of www.datepositive.net. His name has been changed to protect is identity.

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