This photo was taken in the summer of 2009, the middle of June and a week after when I believe I was in infected. At the end of that holiday in the south of France I started to feel unwell but it wasn’t until five months later that I would find out what the fever, sweats and cough I endured for the two weeks after I returned to the UK were all about.
The past seven years with this condition have had their ups and their downs but I am a stronger and more confident person as a result of the journey. My life in many ways is very different to what it once was, but in even more ways it has stayed very much the same.
I am lucky to be surrounded by incredibly supportive people. Seven years ago people were throwing shame on others and this hasn’t changed today. But I was smiling back then and I still am today. Others can waste their energy looking down on people with HIV, they can call us sluts and they can imply we’re dirty – but their ignorance won’t stop me being proud of who I am and what I have overcome.
This article first appeared in Alex’s own blog, HIV and Me here.