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Durham Man Who Hid HIV Diagnosis For 10 Years Tells The World His Story After Watching Channel 4’s “It’s A Sin” UK News

When Luke Kelly, a 21-year-old man from County Durham, learned he was HIV-positive, he was convinced he was going to die.

Although he concocted scenes in his mind of his family saying goodbye to him on his deathbed, he kept his diagnosis a secret from most of the people in his life.

Even years after his diagnosis, Luke, of Barnard Castle, only told those who needed to know he was HIV positive until inspiration came from an unlikely source.

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Channel 4’s It’s a Sin tells the story of five friends as they grapple with the AIDS crisis of 1980s London, which many outside the LGBTQIA + community ignored.

The heartbreaking program catapulted HIV into the conversation and sparked unresolved emotions Luke had around his diagnosis.

Luke, now 31, felt so compelled to let go of his shame that he spoke openly about his diagnosis on Instagram Live for the first time in 10 years with his video going viral.

He said: “HIV is such a small part of my personality that I forget I have it most of the time and when I saw this HIV show coming out I thought, ‘Oh , I will appreciate that “.

Luke Kelly disclosed his HIV diagnosis after keeping it a secret for 10 years
Luke Kelly disclosed his HIV diagnosis after keeping it a secret for 10 years

“But watching him really brought up so many emotions and a lot of struggles that I hadn’t faced. Thinking that I was going to die was a very traumatic time but I didn’t really face it.”

Opening the moment he found out he had HIV, Luke admitted he thought it was a death sentence due to his lack of education about the virus.

He said: “I think I was in shock, I didn’t really have a lot of knowledge about it so I wasn’t really prepared for it.

“It was something people died with in the 80s, but that’s literally all I knew. I didn’t think it could happen to me, I thought you had to be really unlucky for the get.

“I thought I was going to die, I had planned in my head how it was going to be. I had this scene in my head of me on my deathbed with my mother watching me die.

“It wasn’t until I had to go to so many appointments that they gave me more information on how you can live with HIV.”

Watching It’s A Sin, Luke was immediately brought back to those traumatic years as all of his pent-up emotions returned.

He said: “When I watched It’s a Sin it was like holding a mirror. There is a scene where Ritchie is lying in bed with his mother as he was dying and this is the scene that I created in my head 10 years ago.

“It was incredibly moving for me to watch it and I didn’t expect it.

“I think as a gay man I felt a lot of shame already and when I was diagnosed with HIV I was probably still ashamed.

Image TV Channel 4 It's a sin
Image TV Channel 4 It’s a sin

“As I swept it under the rug, I figured I could get on with my life rather than deal with it.”

But Luke realized he no longer wanted to keep his diagnosis a secret and wanted to tackle the stigma surrounding HIV.

He said, “I kept it a secret, I only told a few people, the ones who needed to know. My parents found out three years after my diagnosis because they found my medication.

“I couldn’t find a space to talk to them about it and had to tell them right away.

“I have had success in my life but I didn’t want to continue to abide by this idea that it should be a secret, it doesn’t help the cause so I decided to talk about it on Instagram Live and it ‘went viral.

“There is still a lot of stigma and shame around HIV and that’s why I wanted to talk about it.”

Luke’s Instagram video has been viewed over 60,000 times, giving people the space to speak openly about the matter.

And now he wants to help others who are going through a similar situation by continuing the conversation.

He said: “There have been incredible changes over the last 10 years, I lead a normal life, which I thought I couldn’t do.

“Since I opened five months ago, I feel like I need to keep talking. I’m so lucky to be born 15 years later, without this drug I wouldn’t be here now .

“I would have been very lucky to have survived this long.

“Millions of people lost their lives but people didn’t care because it affected the gay community.

“I just want to try and normalize talking about it. I’m lucky enough to live to keep the conversation going and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Although there is no cure for HIV, there are some extremely effective drug treatments that allow most people to lead normal, healthy lives.

HIV can be transmitted through blood or semen, but cannot be transmitted through sweat, urine or saliva.

Without treatment, the immune system will be severely damaged and life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and serious infections can occur.

If you are on effective treatment for HIV and your viral load has been undetectable for 6 months or more, that means you cannot …

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This notice was published: 2021-08-28 05:00:00

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