I was diagnosed with HIV towards the end of last year (2019). I had unprotected sex with a man (my first hook-up in years) and a few days later found myself in the hospital with a fever that ravaged my immune system and left me barely able to stay conscious for an entire week.

I was discharged after a week, and despite CT and MRI scans (AND a blood test), I was left undiagnosed. A month later I took it upon myself to get a private STI test and was told that I had contracted HIV. I began a long road to recovery, walking out of what is now my clinic days later with my medication and the resources to be able to understand & process my diagnosis.

Since then, I’ve battled my diagnosis; despite the physical reality not changing much, my uphill struggle has been mental. How my friends & family would react to my diagnosis haunted me for months, before I finally had the courage to come out publicly online, while learning to love myself has never been more difficult, after realising that there was such little representation of people my age living with HIV in the U.K. today.

I found almost no representation; and yet, since coming out, my inboxes have been flooded with similar people to myself who have kept their own diagnosis to themselves, some for years, out of fear and like-minded feelings of isolation. I realised that something needed to change, and while I am only one person… If I can make any difference, it’s the least that I can do.

“Since coming out, my inboxes have been flooded with similar people to myself who have kept their own diagnosis to themselves” 

I’ve started B+ (Be Positive), an online page dedicated to my HIV journey in real-time, and also touching upon my relationship with mental health & LGBTQI+ culture. I’ve just finished my three-part introductory short-video series, entitled ‘Who Are You?’, which documents how I found myself today; from that first night, to finally learning to accept myself as a man who is living with HIV.

I plan to reach as many people as possible, not limited to just those who are HIV positive, but anybody who would like to know more information and learn; because I think that education is key, and I know that after being diagnoses, it would have been so simple for me to take precautions if I’d simply known they’d existed previously. PrEP, for example, which is now being rolled out via the NHS.

“I plan to reach as many people as possible … education is key” 

Points of discussion in the future include: how HIV affects my daily life, my experiences coming out to various people in my life, how I navigate friendships and new relationships now, and many, many other aspects to life as somebody living with HIV. I also intend to talk about a range of important topics, such as drug usage, the importance of staying in touch with your sexual health, and our relationship with our mental health.

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Follow Jay's journey by following @bplusuk on both Instagram and Tik-Tok.