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Karan – let’s work together to stop the discrimination

Image of young Asian man in hoodie
Photos are used for illustrative purposes. They do not imply health status or behaviour.

I was diagnosed with advanced HIV/Kaposi's Sarcoma In December last year. I was on sabbatical from work at the time which spared me having to face my employer.

I was in hospital for eight days while they did all the necessary tests. I didn't know what to expect. My mind went blank and though I tried to be strong, inside I was dealing with very deep emotions.

I wasn’t ready to check out of life although I was isolated and alone and I didn’t know how to deal with my situation.

I was ashamed to be open about my condition due to fear of embarrassment and humiliation. I was also repelled by my own past actions. I was so angry and resentful at having to keep the truth away from family and close friends. Every time I lied about my condition it hurt more.

I also had to deal with the lifetime medication that was giving me mood swings, light headedness, body rashes and insomnia. It’s depressing but on the bright side the antiretrovirals suppressed the virus inside me from multiplying. Also the skin lesions on my body from Karposi’s Sarcoma slowly but surely decreased in size and hopefully will fade away with patience.

For now chemotherapy has been put on hold - I am so glad. Advances in modern medicine help as they give me hope that I will live a full life and not go back to asking ‘Am I going to die soon?’ I have learned now that I want to live without regret and thanks to the support group Action for Aids, Singapore, I know I am not alone.

In this five months, I have learned that I can't run away from the reality of my condition though I am still behind that closed door. Self-acceptance is key, however social acceptance requires huge efforts especially in the fight against stigma, which we often have to cope with on a daily basis... but, why should we?

HIV is a disease just as cancer is a disease. Let's work together to stop the stigma and discrimination so those who are living with HIV behind closed doors like me will be able to move on.

With love

If you’re diagnosed positive it can take time to get used to the idea of a lifetime on medication, and to feel positive about the future. Some people have some side effects from HIV treatment drugs initially, as Karan did, but these usually go away after a few weeks. Talking to trusted friends or family about your HIV status can help you work through your emotions. But if you’re not able or ready to do that, in most areas you can access support groups where you’ll find likeminded people going through similar experiences. Sharing your feelings and meeting others can really help you move forward.

*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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Photo credit: ©istock/Ranta Images. 


Last updated: 15 April 2020