My name is Rian, I’m 17 years old, originally from East Java and living in Denpasar. I first went to have an HIV test when I repeatedly had boils that did not heal and ulcerated. Also my boyfriend asked me to have an HIV test. At first I did not understand what HIV was. I only wanted a test because I thought it might help my ulcers to heal.
After meeting with the counselor from Bali Peduli, I was given information about HIV along with other venereal diseases. I was horrified listening to the information. After a few minutes, I got the results of the tests. I was very shocked, sad, wanted to be angry but was afraid and I really didn’t know what to do. The counselor tried again to help me understand HIV. I hadn’t had time to think rationally.
Going home from the clinic I was not concentrating and had a crash. My hands and feet were injured. When I got home my mum and sister were upset and angry seeing my wounds. I could not hear what they were saying because I was overwhelmed with the test results.
That night I couldn’t sleep well, only through chatting with a counselor could I slightly ease my mind. After a week, I ventured to talk with my mum about my illness. In the living room were my mum, stepfather and sister. There I was open about my "new status”, telling them that I was HIV positive. Mum reacted first: she threw a small water bucket at me and then she threw a bike helmet hitting my head. Mum was very angry, as was my older sister. My stepfather was quiet. I just sat quietly, crying and holding back the pain.
Every night I was shivering my body was hot and cold. Every night I was talking with my counselor, the only one who could understand my situation at that time. My counsellor suggested I join a group, a community called a ‘support group’ whose members are friends who were positive like me. Without thinking, I agreed, because I needed something like that. When the meeting started I was very happy, because the friends from the support group were very welcoming, they were good. To cut a long story short, I was very happy with this new community.
One night when I was asleep, mum apparently took my phone and read my messages with my counsellor. Finally she started chatting with the counsellor too and invited the counsellor to come home. Mum and my stepfather asked the counsellor many questions, such as can HIV be spread to my baby nephew by hugging and kissing, or spread by eating from plates and glasses used by me. Mum even searched in Java for alternative medicines. The counsellor explained that we don’t need alternative drugs, it’s enough to routinely take ARVs, all will be fine.
Since the arrival of the counsellor to my house, and giving information about HIV, mum is starting to accept me, my stepfather also. My older sister still hates me a bit. I don’t want to worry about it and I’m not angry with my sister. I can understand because this is my fault. The important thing is now I can accept my condition, and mum and my stepfather also accept me.
I am very grateful for my counselor who helped me and for everything that he has done up to now, including providing information about HIV to my family. Thanks also to Bali Peduli for giving the funds to the support group.
Help more people like Rian.