New Users Registration  |  Useful Links  |  FAQ  |  Site Map 
 
Go Search

 

Skip Navigation LinksHealth Xchange > News
  News  
  Categories  
     
  Chronology  
 
  2013 2015   Dec 2015 | Nov 2015 | Oct 2015 | Sep 2015 | Aug 2015 | Jul 2015 | Jun 2015 | May 2015 | Apr 2015 | Mar 2015 | Feb 2015 | Jan 2015 |
  2013 2014   Dec 2014 | Nov 2014 | Oct 2014 | Sep 2014 | Aug 2014 | Jul 2014 | Jun 2014 | May 2014 | Apr 2014 | Mar 2014 | Feb 2014 | Jan 2014 |
  2013   Dec 2013 | Nov 2013 | Oct 2013 | Sep 2013 | Aug 2013 | Jul 2013 | Jun 2013 | May 2013 | Apr 2013 | Mar 2013 | Feb 2013 | Jan 2013 |
  2012   Dec 2012 | Nov 2012 | Oct 2012 | Sep 2012 | Aug 2012 | Jul 2012Jun 2012May 2012Apr 2012Mar 2012 | Feb 2012 | Jan 2012 |
  2011   Dec 2011Nov 2011Oct 2011 | Sep 2011 | Aug 2011Jul 2011Jun 2011 | May 2011 | Apr 2011 | Mar 2011 | Feb 2011 | Jan 2011 |
  2010   Dec 2010 | Nov 2010 | Oct 2010 | Sep 2010 | Aug 2010 | Jul 2010 | Jun 2010 | May 2010 | Apr 2010 | Mar 2010 | Feb 2010 | Jan 2010 |
  2009   Dec 2009 | Nov 2009 | Oct 2009 | Sep 2009 | Aug 2009 |
 
     
  Topic  
 
  Health Policy and Announcements | Diseases and Outbreaks
  Medical Research | New Treatments and Technology
   
 
     
  RSS  
 
  Singapore   SingHealth | Health Promotion Board | Ministry of Health | Asiaone
  International   World Health Organization | Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (US)
       
 
     
  News Article  
 

Party animal now an Aids volunteer

 
  Thursday, 02 l 12 l 2010 Source:  Mind Your Body; The Straits Times   
By: Joan Chew
     
 

aids-volunteerIn one year, 24-year-old Timothy (not his real name) went from party animal to Aids volunteer. He changed when he was diagnosed as HIV-positive in September last year. A routine health screening just before he finished full-time National Service turned up a positive HIV test result. It was the first time the gay man had tested positive in eight years of anonymous HIV testing.

Thin, with fine features, he recalled: “Everything collapsed. I really didn’t know what to expect.” Timothy said he became sexually active at the age of 16. He frequented pubs and clubs along Tanjong Pagar and would visit Zouk about once or twice a week. He often had casual sex with men he never saw again, behaviour that he knew put him at risk of HIV. This is why he made sure he got tested every year.

Timothy still does not know who infected him. He said, regretfully: “It was no use pointing fingers. I realised that I could have passed it on to someone else unknowingly and this weighed heavily on me. “There’s no book to tell you what to do.” He turned to Action for Aids (AFA). Volunteers there offered to break the news to his family but he declined, fearing it would destroy them. But then word got out. He does not know how but some friends found out about his HIV status and posted unkind comments on the social networking site Facebook.

He recalled: “I didn’t have a choice then not to tell. These friends judged me and I lost friends as a result. “Since they had taken this right of telling others about my HIV status away from me, I felt that the least I could do was to inform my family myself.” The news nearly tore his family apart.His parents, both in their 50s, took the news about their youngest child and only son harder than he did. He said: “They stopped talking to me for a month or two. I knew I had broken their hearts.” As for his three elder sisters, aged 26 to 30, they went berserk, he said, and lashed out at him, believing he had been dealt a death sentence.

But with time and some help from AFA volunteers, who visited and counseled them, his family eventually rallied around him. He said with a wistful smile: “They saw that I am still their brother and son – nothing changed with the diagnosis.” His HIV status became a litmus test for his relationship with others, said Timothy. “Some don’t view you in the same way anymore; they put up a fence against you,” he said. “To me, it’s not the virus that kills, it’s the mindset.”

Now that he was experiencing the stigma of HIV firsthand, Timothy became a volunteer with AFA to dispel the myths and fears surrounding the disease. He works in the health-care sector and says his employers are aware of his health condition. Some colleagues have shunned him, while others who were initially uncomfortable slowly overcame their own prejudices and now readily interact and have meals with him. While he has lost some friends, he has gained a lot more by becoming closer to his family, said Timothy. They are aware that he will begin anti-retroviral therapy soon at the Communicable Disease Centre.

He said: “I no longer go clubbing or do dangerous things which worry my family members and make them think I’m not taking care of myself.” The avid cyclist took part in AFA’s fund-raising spinning challenge at Velocity last Saturday, one of the activities organised for World Aids Day yesterday to dispel misconceptions about HIV and Aids.

Said Timothy: “Fear of HIV is the one thing that prevents people from knowing more about it. Some think it’s infectious just by breathing the same air that you breathe, which is ridiculous. “HIV-positive people are human and they still enjoy the same things that others do.”

     
 Ask the Specialists (1st - 30th Nov)
     
Gastric Pain, what can I do?
Your Gastric Pain could be a signal of a more serious condition that needs attention; or that you need a change in lifestyle. Ask our Specialist now!
     
  Your eye and contact lenses
Concerned with the side effects of wearing contact lens? Need a guide on how to take care of your eyes and lenses? Ask our Specialist now!
     
 
 Ask the Specialists - Answered Topics
             
  Aesthetic Eye   Asthma  
  Breast Cancer   Cancer and Nutrition  
  Child's Eye Conditions   Depression  
  Breast Cancer   Eczema  
  Elderly Eye Conditions   Health At Work  
  Heart Disease   LASIK  
  Low Back Pain   Maternal Depression  
  Money and Healthcare   Managing Pain  
  Pre-pregnancy   Prostate Problem  
  Risk of Heart Disease   Sleep  
  Sports Injuries   Thyroid Problems  
  Weight Management        
             
 
 Catch up with Health Xchange
 
  facebook   newsletter  
 
  twitter