Thursday 5th November 2009, I receive a text on my phone asking me to contact the GUM clinic to make an appointment. The week before I had made a visit, a general check up, but I was also concerned by a persistant cough that hadn’t gone away since the summer. I’d been tested for HIV in June, the result negative, but a voice in my head kept telling me maybe I should go back. The fear of the result I did not want was enough to put me off and I was soon distracted by everyday life, work, socialising and dating.
A call to the clinic and then another to an ex-boyfriend and I’m all set to pay them a visit on Friday morning. Fidgeting in the waiting area I see a couple of women enter an ‘interview room’ and a few minutes later they call me inside.
We know what happened next. It’s hard to remember how I felt when I heard the news, I was numb. Happy to have further blood tests, I then left the clinic and despite the advice from the nurse and my ex-boyfriend, went straight to work.
Fast forward three years and I’ve now outed myself as HIV-Positive. I’ve been fighting the virus and now it is time to join those who fight against the stigma. I hope to share my past and present and help those who have been diagnosed with HIV as well as changing the perceptions of people who believe they know what it is to live as a typical HIV stereotype.
I grew up in the South East and after finishing school moved to Lancaster to complete a degree in Philosophy. After graduation I moved to the wonderful city of Manchester and have been here ever since. I was diagnosed HIV-Positive in November 2009 and have spent the past three years coming to terms with my status. The virus has made me a stronger person but hasn’t changed who I am and I won’t allow it to define who I want to become.
I’m a liberal gay man with a ‘leftie’ political outlook. I enjoy socialising with friends, music and film. I’m a strict vegetarian and enjoy keeping fit.
I support the ideals of the LGBT community, feminism and the animal rights movement. As well as being an advocate for HIV activism I believe in the equality of all people in order that future generations can live in a diverse and sustainable world.
This article previously appeared on Alex’s own blog alexsparrowhawk.com here. Follow him on twitter@birdy_tweet.