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Lara - I'm studying HIV/AIDS management

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Photos are used for illustrative purposes. They do not imply health status or behaviour.

I was diagnosed with HIV in 2010 when I went for my antenatal check. I guess I didn’t know how I felt about it at first but as time passed I took responsibility. I started to accept my HIV status and understand my condition. It was hard to start my meds. I felt humiliated and scared of rejection… I ended up not taking them first-time round.

Then I had a second chance to accept and deal with my demons when I became pregnant again. I realised that this HIV really wants to be my friend and I have to accept it, feed it and train it!

All this I could do by not being a victim. HIV has no power over me and my identity! So I started taking my meds every day, and now I'm studying HIV/AIDS management and counselling at college.

We all have something that we’re battling with which is beyond our power. And we all have to take responsibility by facing it, understanding it and dealing with it. I would like to be a motivational speaker and an HIV advocate for those who can't voice out their opinions; for those who are still ashamed or living in fear.

My motto is: ‘Anything which can be fed can be trained.’ So if you can take your meds then HIV will not kill you.

Lara battled through feeling humiliated and scared to ‘make friends’ with her HIV and take responsibility for her health. She recognises that many people with HIV live in shame and fear. It can really help to talk to a trusted friend or family member about how you feel, getting support when you’re feeling low is really important and as Lara says, if you take your treatment as directed, you’ll stay healthy.

*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: 26 September 2019