In my blog posting last Friday, I mentioned about a guy, Majid who called to seek our support service. I mentioned that Majid sounded like a young man, and that he didn't sound depressed. Since I was rather busy last week, I told him I'd call him this week so we could meet up.
Well, I called him on Wednesday asking if he'd be free yesterday afternoon. I intended to go to our center around 3.30 pm and I thought it would be a good idea for him to come to our center as another colleague of mine would also be at the center then. Majid agreed. He has flexi working hours and so it wasn't a problem for him to meet up during normal office hours.
So yesterday we met. Majid actually got to the center earlier than I did but my colleague was already there. No, I wasn't late - Majid was early. (tak nak kalah!)
I was right - Majid is a young chap in his twenties - young enough to call me makcik but he got rid of the 'mak' and called me 'cik' instead... (clever chap!) :) He wasn't depressed either, so yep, I was right again.
Of course, when he first found out about his HIV infection, he felt like dying. But he got over it fast enough, and soon, he was already leading a normal life.
Majid is actually a healthy young chap. He looks healthy, he feels healthy and nobody (not even himself) would ever guess that he has HIV. He was never involved with drugs. Yes, he did have unprotected sex a few times (two or three times he said) before this but those days are over. Even his CD4 count is still very high despite his HIV infection.
So, how did he find out about his HIV infection?
You see, early last year he went to the hospital to donate blood. After tests were done on his blood sample, the hospital authorities called him to inform him about the infection. Imagine how he felt at that time. He didn't want his family to know but he needed to talk to someone. I guess his first appointment at the HIV clinic did not coincide with our clinic duty and so SN did not refer him to us. He did get our brochure though, but wasn't sure how to go about contacting us. Yes, the contact number was there but I guess he simply didn't know how to take that first step.
He finally confided in his boss, who was understanding enough. Until now, his boss is the only one amongst his acquaintances who knows about his HIV status. His family, who stays in another state, is totally clueless. His house-mate (he's renting a house with another guy) doesn't know a thing either.
Well, he looks healthy, not yet on medication - so no reason for anyone to suspect anything. With his flexi working hours there's no need to tell anyone whenever he needed to go to the hospital for his appointments.
Majid is however still very much interested in our services. He wants to know more. He feels it is probably better for him if he gets involved in our activities.
After meeting up and talking to him yesterday, I felt he'd be better off as a volunteer rather than a client. All he wants anyway is activities to keep him busy. So I asked if he'd be interested to join us as a volunteer instead. And he agreed! Yayyyy!!!
So we got ourselves a double catch yesterday. We got a new volunteer - and a PLHIV at that!! Looks like our plan to start a peer support group is on track! I still need to present his application to the board for approval (just a formality really) but that shouldn't be a problem at all.