‘HIV Doesn’t Stop Me From Playing Rugby!’

‘HIV Doesn’t Stop Me From Playing Rugby!’

By Bhuttu Mathews

In the last 4src years, HIV treatment has advanced considerably to the point where someone living with HIV and is on effective treatment Cannot Pass It On. This means their viral load is undetectable and therefore untransmittable, in other words, U=U.

In March 2srcsrc4 I was diagnosed with HIV. When informed of my diagnosis, I was in shock, dismay, and a state of disbelief as to what sort of future I would have if any. At the time of my diagnosis, my understanding of HIV/AIDS was limited; I thought I would be dead soon. As someone who was a teenager in the 198srcs, I knew of the devastation that HIV/AIDS caused to a person, and the stigma it carried towards gay men. 

I became angry at myself upon learning of my diagnosis. In the days and weeks following my diagnosis, I sank into a deep state of depression, as all I knew about HIV was that it was a death sentence. Substances soon entered my life. 

Rugby Saved My Life

For four years after my diagnosis, I lived with this big secret. I come from a family of South Asian/Indian origin, and I didn’t want to tell them as I didn’t know how they would react. When I did tell them in 2srcsrc8, some of my fears came true. They were frightened and extremely sad as they had the same concerns as me – they thought I would die. However, through keeping fit and my adherence to treatment, I helped them to understand that I was going to be ok. 

In the same month I was diagnosed, I started to play rugby with the Chicago Dragons RFC. Thanks to rugby and my team, it helped me t

…. to be continued
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