“In the 2000s, my wife and I tested positive for HIV. After a series of doubts, I’d finally taken her abroad for a test and she had tuberculosis and HIV, which left her sick most of the time. I too came out positive for HIV. Thankfully none of my children has it. When I first found out, I was simply dazed to think or react properly. Alcohol worsened the situation. At that time, due to a lack of proper education, many assumed HIV killed people. Before being diagnosed, I was simply aware of its existence and its fatality, but that was it. I hadn’t given much thought to it. I even heard rumours that the infected would be euthanized and eliminated.

The hospital staff offered their support but in the beginning, we found it hard to admit the seriousness of the disease. It greatly impacted the way I lived and worked. My skin darkened along with my body becoming weak, and my mental state too began to falter. I couldn’t work for years. My children never openly vocalized about the state of our health either from a lack of understanding on the subject or from their own hesitancy. I understood it didn’t matter what other people said as long as my family accepted it. My wife and I supported each other throughout the journey; when she got sick I’d make food and bring it to her. Though I haven’t actively participated in the awareness programs that are occasionally being held, I do help in educating patients with HIV in every way I can.

What I hope for is that those infected take good care of themselves. It is crucial for people to be educated on safe sex and even openly discussed it within families instead of shying away from it. When it comes to your own safety no one should take any risk. If you shy away from the topic today, tomorrow you will be plagued by even more life-threatening diseases.”

Humans of Thimphu with YPEER Asia Pacific Center -Ypeer AP brings stories of people vulnerable to or living with HIV, their struggles and journeys.

#SRHRforEveryone #HumansofThimphu #HumanStories

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