Born HIV+ AMA
I'm a 18 year old female and am born with HIV, mother was (gang) raped and gave birth to me 2 years after. Go forth and enquire as you please.
EDIT: I am not the product of rape, my mother was raped contracted HIV and had me 2 years later with my father.
Well only my family knows an they're my family so no, also this is a valid question which I shall upvote :)
Have you ever dated anyone? Just wondering cause that'd be a situation where you'd probably have to tell them.
No, not yet
PROOF: atripla hiv drug (google it) my username and a batman car + messy desk to proof im a true redditor ;) http://i.imgur.com/4n7rgb7.jpg
Do you ever get scared of transmitting it to someone else accidentally?
ABSOLUTELY!! this is my worst nightmare by far, that and spiders shivers
My worst nightmare, too. That says something positive about your character, I think.
I've discovered there are people out there (likely including the person who infected me) who know they're positive and don't disclose, or lie, or (very rarely) actively seek out negative partners.
Stay strong!!! Those people give HIV a bad name (made me laugh) it should be the most important thing to a positive person
I'm HIV+ as well. Since I contracted, sero-converted, and was diagnosed over a very short period of time, I had very little time to ease into the notion and it hit me like a ton of bricks. My biggest concern at diagnosis was that I wouldn't live a full life. My biggest concern now is the various forms of stigma or pity that I have to endure upon telling someone of my status. Ignorance I can handle, but pity is a lot tougher. I tend to get frustrated when people suddenly either seem to want to saint me (all I did was have unprotected sex, contract a disease, and express a desire to continue living a relatively normal life! I'm not a hero.) or treat me as if I'm a fragile object (the only thing that's fragile is my patience...) How do you deal with the pity?
Oh my God great question, it really pisses me off too especially now as I grow up before I didn't notice it and was going to kids clinic, now I'm older and having to go to adult clinics and people are there near close to tears I'm like bro calm the hell down. But what we have yo realise is that pity is the only way others can relate or empathize, it may not always be pity just concern or caring about your welfare. Its hard to be strong and expect everyone else to be strongvwith you at the end of the day
In line with this - should anyone find out you are HIV+, what would be the most not-awkward way for someone to acknowledge this and let you know that the support you?
On a different note - what are your hobbies?
Thanks for this AMA!
I think if they approached it in a kinda light jokey way instead of sad/pitying way.
My hobbies well I like to internet, read, is eat a hobby? I'm Like any towney teenageer to be honest :)
What are your medical bills like?
I'm British so none at all gotta love the NHS
How did you first feel when you found out that your mom was gang raped?
I found out kind of recently and I was quite shocked to be honest as anyone but there was a new found respect or my mum definitely
What did she tell you before telling you the way she got it?
I imagine when you were a little kid you just thought it was a genetic random disease you and your mother had, then when you found out about HIV and how it is transmitted what did she tell you?
It's crazy, I honestly didn't even think too hard about it I thought needles or something
Have you gone to see a dentist?
Have you told him this condition before treatment?
Oh yeah, it was kinda funny actually when you fill out the forms to sign up and there's a HIV section and I tick positive the reception lady has to ask me again and when she sees I'm serious tries to act super cool, one dentist thought I was a slut and tried to say atleast you don't have kids it felt good telling him the truth hahaha
Opticians too they have to know had an awkward conversation with one, he was little too curious, but it happens
As an optician, I apologize. I'm involved in a volunteer group in my town for people with HIV and AIDS. The stereotyping is awful.
Best to you and your future endeavors :)
Thank you! Very kind
Jesus, that's crazy rude! doctors (and dentists) (and their receptionists) should know better.
Haha its just the way it goes, I'm not even mad
Not too sure what an AR-V is but my mum legit told I had metal heart and so needed to take meds and have my bloods taken a hell of a lot, I thought I was iron woman for like 8 years and couldn't tell anyone basically cracks me up now though
Oh retroviral drugs, they sucked from what I can remember but actually stopped all medication (doctor's orders) from ages 6 to around 11 when I got really ill and had to start atripla
What do you have to do in order to just stay HIV positive and not have it progress? I know medications are a big part of it but is there anything else? Thank you for this AMA.
Like AIDS? Well the drugs I'm on now and have been for he last 6 years are the most effective in the market, I don't do much like diet or anything but I go for a checkup every 3 months where they check if everything is as it should be and if its not then I would be made aware just good medical care really
How old were you when you fully understood the nature of your illness and the impact it would have on your life? How did you handle it?
I can't imagine being in your position, you must be very brave. Best of luck to you in everything you do.
I was officially told when I was 11 But I always kinda new there was something up, I guess I fully understood what it meant around 14-15 years old, I did a lot of Googling those stupid leaflets they give you are no good.
Thank you :)
How does knowing you have HIV affect your everyday life?
Honestly, I forget day to day only like if I cut myself or someone randomly brings up HIV etc do I remember but when I do I have an it-is-what-is-is-attitude about it
Thanks for the reply. I have another question, if you don't mind. Do you ever think of how you could enter relationship, like would you tell them and how would you tell them if you did.
Now that I'm getting older yes I do think about it. There would be no shadow of doubt I would tell any partner how they react is how they react, but how I would go about telling them in the first place I have no idea.
One more question. How does it affect your day to day life? and as always thanks for the reply
Not much, I take my medication once a day but that is so normal now so even then its still pretty minor.
thank you so much for answering my questions. :)
Aww its OK it was nice answering them :D
Do you have friends who are going through the same thing?
Nope none, they have groups and stuff doctors tell me to go to but I don't see the point, some positive teens I've encountered seem to be a slit-my-wrist type of crowd I'm not about that and besides I honestly have great support system in family and doctors my friend are awesome too they get me out of funks if I ever have them without knowing why exactly but its cool
You're very inspiring. :)
Thank you :]
I bet I am probably cause by slitting my wrists I'd be releasing one if the most destructive and uncontrollable viruses known to man into the air, my bad ;)
I know you're trying to be funny, but since young children who are less than educated do browse this website, I just want to point out that HIV is not an airborne virus and thus can only be transmitted via the exchange of bodily fluids. You can't catch HIV from being near someone bleeding, unless you start to drink their blood...
Hahaha I know I know guys just for the record kids ITS NOT AIRBORNE and also DONT DRINK ANYONE'S BLOOD EVER
You seem like gone through a lot at such a young age.I hope you will find a open minded man and will have a good life.Best of luck :)
Thank you :)
Do you know what happened to the rapists? Did they get prosecuted?
It was Africa during civil war so no they didn't unfortunately
I'm not sure how to upload images exactly if you could assist me perhaps?
Go to imgur.com, click upload, upload a picture from your computer, and message the link that that website gives you to the moderators.
Does your father have HIV? What are his feelings about your moms condition?
He is HIV+, he's a great support
Did your family move to the UK to help you get treatment? How would your life be different if your family had stayed in Africa?
What are your plans for your life? University, etc.?
Definitely, if we had stayed I would be dead its as simple as that. I plan to study journalism this autumn at university!
Do you feel that in your lifetime there is hope of finding a complete cure for HIV?
How willing would you be to use an "experimental" drug to possibly cure you?
I hope there is a cure in my lifetime that would be awesome, but if I was like married and already had children etc I'm not sure I'd try the drugs.
How has this affected your sexuality as a young adult?
How open are you about this to the people around you? Friends, classmates etc?
Are you afraid to fall in love knowing there is a strong chance you could infect someone you love?
Sorry to hear about it and best of luck with managing it, I hope you don't let it control who you are.
I guess it has a lot, I'm still a virgin not only because I believe there's no rush but also cause I kinda friend zone every Guy and so wouldnt need to disclose my status, the only people that know are my family and its become a running joke we make light of many things haha, thank you!!
Thanks for the answer. As I said before, best of luck with it and I hope it doesn't hold you back from living your life.
Thank you, it most definitely won't!!
What are your plans for having a child? Is adoption your only option (unintended rhymes are the best kind)
And when you finally are ready to have sex, what are the risks for your partner? If the condom breaks, will he have a good chance of becoming HIV+?
Edit: just saw your chances of spreading it are 2-.05%
Well artificial insemination is possible I can even natural birth a healthy baby (hell no) because my viral count is undetectable, I do plan on having kids though in the future
Sorry if you've already answered this (or don't want to), but how old are you? Also, what physical effects have you had in your daily life due to the virus? When exactly does it become AIDS? Or is there no set "standards"? Thanks for the AMA
Edit: just looked at the top of the post, sorry about the age question, please disregard.
Well there isn't any real physical effects at all, if you saw me you 100% would have no idea of my status, it becomes AIDS when the virus has completely destroyed your immune system
gave birth to me 2 years after
Um... not to be insensitive but how does that work?
Hahaha its OK, as in she was raped 1993 and I was born in 1995 not as a product of rape just to a HIV+ mum
Oh so she got HIV from the rapists and then had you later?
Yeah basically, sorry about my lack of clarity :)
I've heard once you have HIV and are controlling it with drugs, your chances of spreading it sexually are very slim. Have you talked to your doctors about this? I recently saw Dr. Drew talk about this with a male couple, one whom was HIV+ and was terrified of spreading it to his partner. I think there's a still dogma about HIV and how it spreads, what do you think?
Well that is true my viral count is undetectable right now and my cd4 is healthy so my chances Of spreading are 2%-0.05%. My doctors are very thorough when it comes to all sex questions etc Its kind of awkward since they have kinda seen me grow up but its cool. I am most definitely terrified of giving it to someone, the dogma is definitely real we see it everyday its understandable HIV us associated with - absolutely no offence intended - homosexuals, prostitutes, sluts and third world inhabitants, it is something to fear and shun. Its no amount of hate magic Johnson can cure but I'm OK with that
I think you mean stigma
I think I mean stigma too lol
I think dogma unintentionally works, too. I grew up in a conservative evangelical denomination (same one as a certain Congresswoman from Minnesota) and they pretty much failed the compassion test when it came to HIV/AIDS and the ideas they promoted about it. I actually heard from teachers at the affiliated private school I was sent to about how AIDS was God's curse on homosexuals. They also told us in health class that condoms don't stop the spread of HIV. That was a bald-faced lie, of course. But it served their particular agenda.
This is exactly why I am not religious it'd kinda funny though
are you a virgin?
I'm sorry to hear about this and wish you the best. If I may ask, how are the social pressures like? Do people treat you differently knowing you have HIV, and if so, how exactly do they view you? Also, how do you feel that being diagnosed with HIV has changed your viewpoint in life in comparison to others who don't suffer from other obvious conditions? Thank you and I wish you the best of luck in the future.
Well no one outside of my family know, I have awesome friends and I will tell them at some point so no social problems at all.
It hasn't Changed me I think, there are times I forget tbh but its literally so apart of me its almost natural, I guess my outlook is only affected by it in regards to that I will have a shorter life span and such but you know life happens. Also thank you very much for you kind words
Did anyone ever refuse to give service to you based on this fact, such as a dentist?
Well my dentist let it slip that it kinda didn't help, it expained why I was reffered for braces 3 times by 3 different dentists cause my teeth aren't ridiculously bad but a little crooked, I was also denied everytime by each of the orthodontists I went too
Just wondering if you've given any thought to how you will handle new relationships? Have you thought of what you will tell a potential partner or how long after meeting you will being the topic up?
I know I would tell them quite soon into the relationship but I guess I'd tell them when and how felt right at the time
Were you a test tube baby? Or did your father risk sleeping with your mum?
My father already was HIV+ lol
Thanks for doing this AMA! You seem very positive as a person, your parents have done a great job raising you. :-) What is your secret to stay strong?
I read that you were going to college, all the best for that! Do well in life.
My secret? I say as often as I need to to myself to stop for a second, seriously its a good way to rationalize and calm the hell down and carry on accordingly my philosophy is there's no point on over stressing situations more than they need to
Where are your parents from? Were you born there or in the UK?
Sad to hear how your mother was infected, glad you are doing well though!
I was born in Africa,
Did your mother know?
Whoops sorry about that lol yes she did, but my generation of HIV + babies was one of the first so mother child transmitted HIV wasn't as known as it is now
Do you have any concerns about mosquitoes biting you and transmitting the virus on to others?
I have literally never thought of that, I always knew I had this irrational loathing of mosquitos now I know Why
Isnt HIV a death sentence even with drugs?
Also, isnt any sexual activity likely to transmit, so how did your existence even come about.
Nope HIV is not a death sentence I'm here very much alive and well, chances of sexual transmission of HIV in my case is extremely low, my father already had HIV that is how they met actually
No offense intended but do you view your parents are selfish for willingly having a child with HIV? I'm not you so I don't understand the situation. Merely curious
In fact I do, although I have accepted my predicament I know I wouldn't want it for my kids ever, but it was Africa everyone was ignorant and HIV positive so yeah
These days there are treatments for the mother and child that dramatically reduce the chance of passing it to your children. You seem to have a very positive outlook you have a beautiful life ahead of you. :)
Are there any day-to-day symptoms of HIV that you have to deal with or do the AR-Vs take care of that kind of stuff?
Thank you!! And no not really physical but I take my meds once a day and that's pretty routine now
Why would you point out that your mother had you with your father? Isn't that obvious?
It isn't, some thought I was the product of rape
gave birth to me 2 years after
I guess I wasn't clear sorry :)
C/P'd another answer to the same question: as in she was raped 1993 and I was born in 1995 not as a product of rape just to a HIV+ mum
You seem like a good person. Good luck!
Do people treat you differently when they learn of your HIV status?
Edit: why the downvotes? It happened to other perfectly good questions as well.
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