Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

I Kept My HIV Secret for 14 Long Years

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

I Kept My HIV Secret for 14 Long Years

Article excerpt

ACTOR REVEALS HIS TORMENT AS HE PUTS ON A SPECIAL STAGE SHOW TO MARK WORLD AIDS DAY Nathaniel Hall was 16 when he contacted HIV. After 14 years of 'living a lie' led to a mini-breakdown The Stockport-raised theatre actor, writer, producer and activist, now 32, has produced a one-man show based on his experiences to mark World Aids Day. Here, he tells his story in his own words...

AGED 16, I met a guy in Stockport who was older than me. We started a relationship. It was my first openly-gay relationship. It only lasted for a short time over the summer. As a result, I contracted HIV. I found out two weeks after my 17th birthday.

It was like being hit by a bus. I don't really remember being told, I just remember going home and having to make this decision as to whether I told my parents.

When I told him [the boyfriend, about the HIV diagnosis], I got messages from his friends saying I was just a silly little boy and I was making it up.

I just really wanted him to get tested and get the treatment required so that he wouldn't pass it on, because most infections come from people I realised I last year. mirror recognise Nathaniel producer who don't know they have the virus.

But I never found out whether he knew. He told me that he had been tested and that he had a clean bill of health.

I was acutely aware I had grown up gay.

My parents knew I was gay. We'd had the conversation about safe sex, so there was a lot of embarrassment and shame.

As a gay teenager in the 90s school wasn't particularly a happy place.

There was a lot of homophobic bullying that went unchecked. As a gay man you get this message, through TV, through the media, from society in general that being gay is shameful.

As you grow up you have almost this internalised homophobia - and it's hard to overcome that.

So while all that was going on the shame and stigma of an HIV diagnosis was added on top.

It was a very powerful thing - it still is. …

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