My name is Keith and I live in Barking, which is where I was born.
I am an openly gay man who happens to be HIV-positive, but I’m not so open about my HIV status. I am anonymous in here I’m not really revealing myself. I don’t see myself as this whole person, it’s me hiding, I suppose. I actually at times feel very isolated and very alone.
Living in London and in a big modern city in today’s world as a gay man, people don’t want to see the cracked or broken me, but there are many days where this is exactly how I feel. I am not perfect. I am damaged, and I am somewhat broken.
I’m projecting a veneer because it can be painful and hurtful to show all of yourself if it’s something as personal as being HIV-positive.
I can take up to ten or twelve pills a day, they’ll be my antiretrovirals, they’ll be pills to deal with the side effects. I also have to take pills for depression and pills for just aches and pains, which are linked to HIV.
This is an essential part of my daily life. It keeps me healthy. I mean, ultimately, it keeps me alive. I still don’t enjoy it and it brings all sorts of unique pressures, particularly, you know, because I’m not open about my status. I don’t want to hide my HIV status, I want to be comfortable about it, but it’s not easy. I feel confident and happy enough that this will help me on my life journey.