Thursday, 24 January 2008

The last few days - A lot can happen in a few days

This is the background to why I am writing this blog - I wrote this to a UK HIV Internet forum and never got one reply. So I decided to write my thoughts on my own blog

Where to start? We are both in our 50s.

I have not yet been diagnosed HIV positive as am awaiting results of a test taken today Tuesday 22nd January 2008. Last week we never would have thought HIV would be in our lives - how bloody wrong can you be?

I had the test because my husband of 21 years has just had a positive HIV test! He had the test because he has been unwell for over a year at least and over the last 4 months or more become very ill with weight loss and everything else to explain why he continued to have so many infections and was so unwell and thin, night sweets, fever etc had been tested for.

I eventually insisted on the HIV test last week although his doctor seemed to think it was unlikely - but it was the only thing I could think of that explained his symptoms and continuing ill health.

I thought it a remote possibility because he has worked in various places in Africa and South America etc as a marine engineer for many years. And it seems I was right as he is positive!!!!!!!

He got these earth shattering results on Friday 18th January 2008.

They have cross checked the sample to make sure but he has had another test just to be certain, but I know the chances of a false positive are slim - my husband is in denial and hoping the second test will come up clear, I am pretty sure it will not. My husband is a seaman working at sea for more than 26 years in countries like Africa and south America, Thailand etc. He is away from home at least 7 months of every year in about 2 to 3 month blocks.

He is heterosexual - with no uncertainty that he is not - has never used any intravenous drugs and says he has not has sex ever with any women ( or men) while away, or with anyone but me since we got together many, many years ago. I do believe him as sex has never been his priority but I am a realist so it could have happened.

It really does not bother me how he got it, in terms of apportioning blame - I do not blame him whatever way he got this.

But it does matter to me that he got it and where? As I truly believe that if it was not for his job and the failure of his company to fulfill their 'duty of care' properly for men like Barry who work for them in theses very dangerous parts of the world - He would not now have HIV!!!

I am absolutely certain of this!! And I plan to try to sue his company - I probably will not get anywhere as they are bound to argue I can not prove he did not have 'unsafe' sex in one of those countries he has worked in with high HIV. But I can prove he is not a drug user as his company do random drug and alcohol tests and I can prove that he is of a 'sober' and non- risk taking disposition while away at sea as I know many men he has worked with over the years will sign affidavits to this effect. And his friends and neighbours will give evidence that while home he is a steady family man who takes no risks.

I am going to attempt to take his company to the cleaners on grounds that the company did not fulfill their duty of care or welfare responsibilities.

I love him very much so my only other concern otherwise is he does have it and I may too.

But at present our doctor is working on the premise that he contracted HIV either though an intravenous drip he had in a Local Caracas Hospital in Venezuela last year or a few years before when he had dentistry by a local dentist while working off the coast of Africa.

But it could have happened before, as he has had procedures for small accidents at sea in local hospitals a few times, or from an incident when he was chemically coshed in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, Africa at a time when it was very unsafe as it was in the middle of a political coupe - the one Mark Thatcher was involved in - and woke up in a terrible state, in the street, with no money, remembering nothing, with injuries, after visiting a bar.

He works for Maersk the biggest shipping company in the world and the do not even ensure their employees get proper protection when onshore waiting to join or leaving when in dangerous parts of the world or safe safe medical care.......
He gets no private medical care at all.
God right now I hate that company - Maersk Stinks!!!!!!!!!

But we just really do not know yet - it is very doubtful - well impossible as he is never apart form me when home at all - it would have been contracted in the UK

We both have an appointment at a GU clinic with a consultant tomorrow morning - Wednesday 23rd January 2008 . We are both in shock.

I was a youth worker for many years and for a time worked on an HIV awareness project and knew and worked with people HIV positive so am not as ignorant about it as my husband , who knows nothing. But this was in the 90s and so my knowledge is way out of date. Very scared and worried about the implications for our lives, his job, our life insurance, our mortgage and for our 18 year old daughter Very upset Thank you so much if anyone is listening.
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