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Hi, I thought I would introduce myself having been reading these forums now for 3 and a half years, the time that has passed since I was diagnosed positive.  When I first found out the specialist nurse suggested that I came here and I spent many hours in those first weeks, often night time ones in despair when everything seems so much worse, absorbed by all the information and help and support that everyone gives here, whilst trying to come to terms with my diagnosis.  I had been married for 20 something years, and as far as I knew was in a stable marriage living a "normal" family life.  Then my husband became very sick with various symptoms that refused to respond to the usual treatments until eventually one doctor suggested testing for HIV.  That was when my nice protected world came crashing down around me.  It transpired that whilst working away my husband had had sex with another woman, not used a condom, and caught the virus.  It was several years before he showed any signs of HIV, and when the first symptoms showed nobody took any notice because on their own none of them were that bad.   By the time he was tested he had TB, hep C and his viral load was over 2million.  Amazingly he has responded to the drugs so well that he is back at work and looking healthy again.  Unfortunately our marriage hasn't made it, not only because of the HIV but there have been other issues between us.  By some miracle, since we always had unprotected sex (naively it never occurred to me to protect myself from my husband), I didn't have TB or hep C and as yet am not on drugs for HIV so physically it so far has little effect on me. And most of the time emotionally it doesn't get me either.  I've always had a positive outlook, and figure that actually to have HIV now and in a country that has a free health service is a lot better than a lot of other things that could be happening to me.  As yet we haven't disclosed to anyone and that is one of the hardest things.  I have close friendships and family but don't feel ready to tell anyone yet.  I suspect that the few I would choose to tell would be nothing but supportive and probably cross that I have left it so long to tell them, but, amongst other reasons, including teenage children who have enough to deal with in their lives at the moment, I want to be "normal" to everybody for as long as I can.  Even writing the letters HIV is weird, I have no post sent home about it, and only ever say the words out loud when I go for my six monthly appointments.  Most of the time I don't even think about it, daily life is mostly good and just happens, and it seems selfish to moan about it when I can be treated and there are so many much worse things happening in the world but sometimes it catches me unaware and I just feel an absolute despair, and incredible loneliness and isolation.  Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for being out there. xx

Welcome Daffodil,

As you self-report a positive attitude, you reflect it further in the flower you chose as your name.

Thank you for posting after three plus years of looking. What an incredible change of life you've endured.

As I was reading, and came upon the word 'whilst' I guessed you're in the UK and then when you noted free health service, I thought my guess was even more likely true. Oh yes, and the word 'cross'. I love that word because it sound like what it means -- and yes, your closest friends would be. And family, too. I've heard several people say, why didn't you tell me sooner? Translated: why wasn't I allowed to help you carry this burden for a little while?

I'm like you in the non-moaning department when it comes to looking at what others grapple with---there are some diseases I would never fathom trading for. In fact, most of them, by comparison. They may not carry stigma, but they kill faster.

Hope you keep on posting. That despair, loneliness and isolation is something most of us can identify with. Just knowing this virtual village has doors to knock on every hour of every day and that someone will answer takes the edge down a notch.


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