First Monday morning of January, most people are fighting the traffic to get back to work or school, I was busing it to the hospital first thing for my six-monthly blood tests. After five years living with HIV they are so routine, in and out within a few minutes, but I can’t deny it’s good to get them out the way at the start of the year… shame it’s a couple of weeks wait for the results!
Another year in front of me and I’m deciding what I want to achieve throughout the next twelve months, it seems like it wasn’t that long ago that I was thinking about my aims and goals for 2014. It’s going to be a year to remember without a doubt, I turn 30 in April: I guess my first resolution of the year is to avoid having a major midlife crisis about it haha!
Joking aside I do have a couple of ambitions for 2015, I’d like to get my foot on the property ladder and I’m aiming to increase my fitness, not just because of all the Christmas excess but because I’d like to look and feel good about myself whilst improving my health at the same time, I go to the gym a lot but I tend to undo a lot of the hard work with too many treats or heavy nights out…
I’m also training to start face to face peer support for other people living with HIV this month and I’m looking forward to being able to help HIV positive people in my own community, I’ve really enjoyed the online peer support I have been facilitating but it will be good to use some of those skills to support people from Manchester and Salford.
My main focus will of course be to continue to fight and breakdown the stigma that exists in our society, only this evening I read the following comment from a discussion on Facebook about gay dating apps and STIs:
“I think HIV positive people should wear a special collar!!! It’s really not fair on us that they walk around freely.”
I don’t know if the guy who posted that was trying to make a joke, is a thick dunce or just a bigoted idiot but it doesn’t surprise me that these views still exist, or that people aren’t even afraid to share them publicly.
One thing I’ve learnt over the past couple of years is that there is a lot of passion within the HIV community, and from our friends and families, to remove the fear, ignorance and negative opinions that people hold about HIV, but what I have realised is the need to give more attention to reaching people with my messages who aren’t affected by HIV, whose lives it doesn’t impact. It’s not going to be easy but I think it will be exciting, bring on 2015!