I’m proud to be supporting THTs campaign
‘It Starts With Me’
‘It Starts With Me’ brings home the message of how simple it can be to tackle the task of ending HIV, you just need to Test, Treat and Protect. Many people are afraid of what their results might bring, but putting off a test could cause even more damage. I tested positive in November 2009 and I’m pretty sure I contracted the virus just five months earlier, but in those short five months the virus had multiplied so rapidly there were 79,000 copies in each millilitre of my blood and my CD4 count (the measure of T-helper cells) had dropped to 213, a previous ‘healthy me’ probably had a count somewhere between 500-1000.
Because I tested my consultant was able to start me on treatment, within three months I saw a massive improvement, and the virus was undetectable in my blood. Modern medicines have advanced a lot in the past few years, side effects aren’t compulsory and they soon become routine.
There’s nothing to fear from a positive result, it doesn’t mean the end of relationships and you can still enjoy sex. I met my negative boyfriend three months after the virus and we’re still together now over three years later! When you know your status you can make a decision with medical professionals about when to start treatment, and when on medication you’re much less likely to pass on the virus. A positive result also brings about responsibilities, and I agree with the campaigns message that condoms are the best barrier to HIV.
There is nothing more powerful than taking ownership of a situation, it enables self-confidence and puts you in charge. That’s why I love this campaign, it asks you to think about your own health and that of the people you sleep with. You can protect your own sexual health and in doing so help bring an end to HIV.
Here are some the reasons why YOU should be a part of it too:
There are over 90,000 people in the UK living with HIV
25% of people infected with HIV don’t know they have the virus
Over 60% of gay and bisexual men living with HIV are in London, the North West and the West Midlands
The number of black Africans living with HIV in the UK has more than quadrupled since 2002
Heterosexual contact accounted for 48% of new diagnoses in 2011
“We are at the start of a new era in stopping the spread of HIV. We know that the combination of regular testing, HIV treatment and condom use is the key to success. Join and be the start of something that will change HIV history.”
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