Client story: Finlay

Home test returns a result of HIV positive

A Herts Aid client, known here as Finlay self-referred to Herts Aid after completing a home postal test supplied by THT and testing positive.

He had been to Watford Clinic for a confirmatory test and HIV was confirmed.

Initially Finlay was very shocked and finding it difficult to come to terms with his diagnosis.

Emotional and practical support

The support team provided emotional support and health support regarding medication as well as introducing Finlay to peer support groups.

Weekly telephone contact was given and the support team linked Finlay with an HIV positive befriender to discuss personal coping strategies for living with HIV and different approaches for negotiating new relationships.

Finlay was encouraged to attend peer support lunches and the positive self-management programme being run by Herts Aid.

Joining and getting involved

As a result of befriending, peer support and the positive self-management programme, Finlay joined an LGBT research project on stigma and discrimination and became involved with HIV National testing week.

He completed a radio interview and a newspaper feature and also participated in the event at ASDA in Watford, raising funds and talking to people about having HIV tests.

Finlay has since applied to become a volunteer with Herts Aid as he would like to befriend others who are newly diagnosed.

Exploding the myths

Finlay has said that getting involved with Herts Aid has helped him deal with his diagnosis and that the support from his befriender has been hugely valuable in answering his questions and demystifying HIV.

He states that without Herts Aid he does not know where he would be now.

Finlay felt he was extremely well supported and that his HIV diagnosis has in fact had an unexpectedly positive impact on his life, opening avenues and opportunities that were not previously there.