‘Anonymous’ is a 20 something drag artist currently working on the London scene who was diagnosed HIV+ in 2011. They have chosen not to disclose their identity for this article because they feel it’s the not the right time for them to do so, on both a personal and professional level. However, they agreed to answer our questions posed by Jason Reid…
What is your biggest fear about ‘coming out’ as HIV positive?
The stigma on the scene that is still here; the reaction from people that I get involved with and a fear of being lonely.
Do you feel judged by others because of your HIV status?
The people that do know are close friends and family. I definitely don’t feel judged by them because they support me 100%. Again the worry is there, that if I came out to more people then I would be judged.
Does the gay scene force people to hide their status?
I think in most cases it does cause people to hide; the stigma is rife and people’s reactions can be horrendous. I partly feel shame because I was in a drug-fuelled relationship that led to me being totally naive. I was given a concoction of drugs and it was his opportunity to change my life forever.
“Too many people are ignorant and naive to the whole thing.”
What have been the worst reactions about your status?
I was on a date once and I told this guy about my status and he just walked away. I never heard from him again. Also I was with some good friends one day and they were taking the mickey out of someone they knew who had HIV. I remember sitting there feeling absolutely sick and horrified by the ridiculous comments and I thought to myself, ‘If I were to tell them about me, would they treat me the same way?”
Do you feel there is a lack of education about HIV in the general society?
Absolutely, I think more education needs to be available to understand everything about the virus. With that education you’d hope the stigma will dissipate. Too many people are ignorant and naive to the whole thing.
What’s the biggest misunderstanding about you being HIV positive?
Sometimes people tar you with a slogan when you tell them; they think to themselves “Oh they must’ve been a total whore.” Well, no, that wasn’t the case with me and everyone’s situations are so different. Don’t judge what you don’t understand.
What would you like people who are HIV negative to know about living with HIV?
That it isn’t a life sentence anymore; you won’t catch anything from kissing someone; you can still love and care for someone living with HIV and still have sex, you just have to be safe. Don’t walk away from someone if they tell you, support that person and be there no matter what. Most importantly end the stigma, we are in 2014. It has to end now.