Max is HIV infected, Alex is not. They started dating two years ago, right after Max knew that he was living with HIV.
Both participated in a large study on the transmissibility of the virus, which showed that a person with HIV who followed effective treatment could not transmit the virus through sex.
The couple shared their story with BBC Radio 5 in the hope that it will inspire more people to get tested and eliminate some of the stigmas that still exist.
“I was 24 years old when I discovered that I was HIV-infected. FWhat a shock, a blow to the stomachWhen they told me, I cried. I did not know what to do. Should I go back to work or take a break in my life? Should I tell someone? How can I find a guy now?
The nurse at the clinic, where they gave me results, hugged me and said: "Don't worry, everything will be fine."
Since I conducted the test regularly, I discovered it at a very early stage, and this was good news, because the sooner the treatment starts, the better.
HIV treatment reduce the amount of virus in the blood at undetectable levels. This means that the virus cannot be transmitted during sex, even without a condom.
Taking the medicine I need is pretty easy:only I need one tablet per day at lunch timePatients with type 1 diabetes require four or five injections per day.
Being HIV positive cost me much smarter than physically: the anxiety that I feel when I have to tell other people about my illness.
My diagnosis was told to my closest friends and relatives. Most of them answered wonderfully, but not everyone supported me.
A friend, a kind of mentor for me, told me: “Honestly, I would not like to have sex with someone with HIV, I would always be left with the question of whether they are taking their medications. ”
I felt that I called people HIV-infection "imprudent," and I myself was "responsible" for avoiding contact with people like me.
This vision appeared in the 1980s, when HIV was considered personal failure or death sentencePeople still associate HIV with these gravestones on television or with Princess Diana hugging people with AIDS in the hospital.
Many then refused to touch people with HIV and much more to have close contact. But today, those of us who live with HIV can count on life just like any other person.
The reaction of my mentor really influenced me. I started to panic attacks, I have never experienced them before, but I could not breathe. I could not even go out.
I met Alex shortly after I learned that he was living with HIV. We were both scientists, and we were interested in issues of gender and sexuality, so a connection appeared. He already knew that I was HIV-infected, so I shouldn’t mention it.
I'm not sure at what point we stop using condoms while maintaining a relationship sex. I did not see him in agony, but I was worried that he would feel that he would not use condoms to make me feel better.
Last year, we participated in a study partnerthat overwhelmingly people with HIV can have sex without preservative and do not transmit virus if they take proper treatment.
I think that if there were more people, there would be much less fear or stigma regarding HIV, and no one would have any doubt about them being tested. ”
How is HIV treated?
- HIV is treated with antiretroviral drugs that stop viral replication.
- The amount of virus in the blood is then measured to see how well the treatment works.
- It may take up to six months for this viral load to become undetectable.
- People with HIV who receive effective treatment for HIV and whose viral load is not detected for six months or more cannot transmit the virus through sex.
- NHS, the British health service, says a condom is the most effective way to protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STDs).
"The first impression that I had from Max was that he was very confident,
I met him at the political conference of the Greens Party of the United Kingdom. I was with a group of young homosexuals — we were probably quite frightening as a team — and yet he approached and said, “Hi.”
I found out that I was HIV positive after meeting himwhen he posted it on his Facebook status next to a photo of his medications.
One of the reasons why I was attracted to him was that he was so open when he discussed that he had HIV. I have always admired his trust and refusal to submit to social pressure.
I also liked that even when he was dealing with the effects of his diagnosis, he devoted a part of his time and emotional energy to trying to help others.
We met a couple of months after this conference, and it all began.
not I was afraid that outsidepositivenot at all. On the contrary, I was sad, because I knew that after the diagnosis I had some deviations from other people.
Using sex without condoms, I was not at all worried about contracting HIV because I knew my boyfriend was taking medicine.
I completely trust him. Some people say that people with a virus may not take their medicine, but this is just a prejudice. If you live with HIV, your health depends on taking this pill dailyThis is not something you forget.
I have not told my whole family that Max is HIV-infected, I do not think that this is so important.
I told my parents before taking him home for dinner, but only because he took a pill with dinner and didn’t want me to get up from the table to do it.
It is a pity that he was not disclosed better than HIV cannot be transmittedToo many people suffer from stigma associated with the disease, without a cause.
In the past, people have held people’s views on HIV. We need to change the situation. ”