Anne, 22, the Netherlands

Never thought that I would get HIV at 16. 

I'd always used condoms, until I went on the pill. From then on I stopped using them. When I was 16, my boyfriend and I took an HIV test together. I couldn't believe it when his came back positive. My result was negative.  This could mean one of two things: either I wasn't infected, or it was not yet traceable in my blood. Three nerve racking months followed, in which I had to return every month for a test. It seemed to be going well; the first tests were negative. After 3 months, the news came that I was, after all, infected. My world came crashing down around me.

AnneIn the years that followed, I buried my head in the sand. I told very few people. Only when I split up with my boyfriend, did I learn to accept what had happened to me. I was regularly forced to face the truth…how do you react when a boy flirts with you and wants more? "Sorry, I just need to tell you something first…"?

It hurt that boys seemed to like me, until they found out I was HIV positive. Even some parents showed me the door. These things really affected me. What could I do? And even if I found someone mad enough to want to be with me, how would I have children? And what about a job? Would I have to tell my boss?

But these experiences have brought me to where I am today. I'm doing well. I now volunteer for dance4life, telling High School students that I am HIV positive. People are often startled by what I have to say - I'm so 'normal'… my story could also be theirs. And that is exactly why young people need to get the correct information about HIV and AIDS. dance4life also challenges the discrimination that people like me face every day. Because that happens. Even today. Even in the Netherlands.

Break the silence around HIV and share this story!



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