Sufferers isolated by an evil that?s silent
By JENI FAULKNER
PETER, 37, admits there are only a handful of people on the Coffs Coast who know he's HIV positive.
It's not that he's ashamed of his virus ? he's been living with it for three years ? Peter just believes it's easier to tell a select few, especially in this community.
It was nearly a year ago when Peter relocated from Sydney to the Coffs Coast to be closer to family. He works in the area and, when diagnosed, he was in the prime of his life.
"I was so shocked when I found out," Peter said.
"Straight away I wanted to kick this thing but it is a silent evil and you have potential to hurt someone you love.
Believing he caught the disease sexually Peter has tried relationships but says so far they have always failed.
"You feel so isolated because every time you think you have a chance you have to explain things and you get left alone to start from first base again."
Recently Peter told his parents of the virus and he was surprised at how well it went.
"I am lucky they are supportive, it is important to have family and friends who care," he said.
Over time Peter has lost and gained support because of his virus and he believes it's important to get the message out there.
"There are not too many people here that know I am HIV positive. So many are small minded and you only need to tell people if it matters."
Despite this Peter will be giving talks at youth groups in the area and he said it was important to keep living.
"It's up to you who you tell and you don't want people to discriminate because you are not any worse a person just because you have the virus."
The national theme for the 2005 World AIDS Day campaign is 'HIV/AIDS: Let's talk about it'. HIV/AIDS is still a major health issue with no known cure.
The name of the person in this story has been changed.