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Arun – HIV treatment is free here at least

Black and white image of a young Iranian male looking to camera
Photos are used for illustrative purposes. They do not imply health status or behaviour.

I'm 22 years old. I was recently diagnosed HIV positive. I live in the Middle East and I’m gay. Gay life here is really hard; we are discriminated against. I was very scared when the counsellor told me that I was HIV positive and I cried. It was as if the world was over. But I stood up firmly, walked out of the door and with strength, began to heal.

It's about three months now since I started on antiretroviral treatment. The doctor told me that I would have to take this medication for the rest of my life or until a cure is found. HIV treatment is free here at least.

I haven’t told anyone that I’m positive because of the discrimination here. I know that if I tell my family they won’t support me. They may even throw me out of the house because I now have two secrets: I’m gay and I'm HIV-positive.

But with strength I continue on my medication and get on with my life. It doesn’t matter that no one knows about my situation. What is important is that I know myself.

Although Arun thought that the world was over when he was diagnosed and isn’t able to get support from his family or community, he’s found the strength that he needs to get over his fear of being HIV-positive, take his medication and continue with his life.

*These personal stories have been submitted to us anonymously by individuals who use our site. Some of the stories have been edited for clarity purposes. Some names have been changed to protect identities.        

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Last updated: 15 April 2020