Martin (29): People think it is my fault I contracted HIV. It’s hard to deal with illness when no one believes you

In a severe illness, one is always happy when one’s family and loved ones stay close to him and help him at the most difficult moments of life. However Martin isn’t so lucky. He suffers from an incurable illness, and his family and closest acquaintances have turned their backs on him.

The article was written based on the reader’s story. The photos are for illustration purposes only and the names of the people have been changed at the request of the reader.

Martin has lived with his girlfriend for three years. But he previously had a years-long relationship with a man. ‘Half of my friends have condemned me for that. When I learned later that I was HIV positive, even those who had still remained my friends left me,’ he says.

My girlfriend must have been unfaithful to me. But she refused to admit it and left me

‘You can tell people the truth, but if they don’t want to hear it, they never will,” Martin goes on with the story. He discovered that the HIV was in his system during preoperative examinations he underwent during a complications with a ruptured ulcer. ‘It was a shock. At first, they only promised that they would relieve me from awful pain. While they did that, they also told me that I had HIV.’

Martin had no idea how long he had been suffering from the disease. But he was intimate with only two people in his life. ‘I was afraid to tell the truth to my girlfriend. So I went first to get tested with Ted,’ he says. He broke up with him more than four years ago, but they have stayed in touch and have fun as friends. But Ted’s tests came clean. And Martin realized that it must have been his girlfriend who gave him HIV.

I suspected she was cheating on me

‘It’s been bad between us for some time. Dana would come home from work late, leaving often for weekends and not telling me where. But I was naive and I never suspected anything.’ When Martin told Dana the sad news, she accused him of infecting her. But Martin knows better. ‘I argued and admitted my suspicion of her infidelity. She replied angrily that she was cheating on me because I deserved it.’

Martin’s family and friends eventually took Dana’s side. ‘A lot of people have told me it’s my fault for being into guys. Nobody wants to hear my truth. ‘In Martin’s words, his friends seemed to resent him. They stopped going out with him, keeping in touch, most of them slowly disappeared from his life.

The disease brought me new and old acquaintances

‘I’ve lost contacts with my family and my best friends,’ Martin confesses. On the other hand, he has met people in therapy who have a similar problem. Besides, he got back together with Ted and met people who accept him for who he is. ‘I don’t think it’s just because of my illness, people just hate that I’m different.

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I know I have a sad fate ahead of me, but I want to enjoy life to the fullest as long as I can. And that certainly doesn’t include being sad over people who aren’t worth it.’

Author: Cheryl Rush