HIV Positive: Seriously, you can’t catch it from kissing – BBC Stories

HIV Positive: Seriously, you can’t catch it from kissing – BBC Stories

If you don’t know that
people living with HIV can… ..share drinks, kiss, share toilets… ..then you should watch this. I’m Mercy. I’m 20. And I was born with HIV. HIV is always portrayed negatively, and I’m bored of that. What do you really know about HIV? Just don’t have sex! Yeah. See what I mean? Not a lot, right. If you don’t know that there are
young people living with HIV all over the UK, then you should watch this. There are 3,100 under-24s known
to be HIV-positive in the UK. From all races, genders
and sexualities… ..HIV does not discriminate. I’m going to meet three other young
people living with HIV. George – who’ll tell
us about dating. Inappropriate images of me were posted on the internet. So my nudes were leaked. Is that OK? To say,
“Nudes were leaked”? who will show us that having
kids is still possible. I treat him as, like, a little miracle. I’m a mother. And James – who’s
about to make a big decision. Have you thought
about coming out publicly? I think about this all the time. In fact, I’m thinking about it now. If you don’t think
HIV stigma exists, then you should watch this. “Oh, my goodness. Like,
what’s your prognosis?” Like I have a time and date
in my phone to be like, “Well, this is the end,” Got the message yet? You need to watch this. So…I take three tablets a day. And I go to the doctors twice a year
to have a blood test. That’s about it. It’s not that exciting. Yes, I was born with HIV, but that doesn’t define me. Like, I like Shakespeare…Yeah! And that’s right. I’m engaged. I’m always trying to change
perceptions about HIV. It would almost be selfish of me
to just be like, “Yeah, cool, “I’m HIV-positive.” Because I live in such a privileged
position that I feel like I have to take this, and I have
to do something with it. If we, as HIV-positive children,
aren’t going to talk about it… ..who can talk about it for us? So I challenged my best friends
to ask me anything they wanted about HIV. No judgment, of course. Wow. Would you leave Wana
to marry Prince Harry? Wow. You didn’t answer it! No. I was outed as HIV-positive
at school. I ate lunch in the school toilets. Like, it was bad. PRODUCER: You don’t want to talk
about it? No. You have to stay secret and you
can’t talk about it, and you don’t really feel
like you own your status. So then when it came to being 18,
I just thought, “Well… “..I might as well just come
out to the whole world.” And since that moment, I’ve been
trying to tell the world what it’s really like
to live with HIV. Why do people think if I share
a bottle of water with you, I will catch it? I have absolutely no idea. But I also don’t want to share
a bottle of water with everyone. So, let’s set the record straight. HIV is a virus that attacks
your immune system. But today’s drugs can
stop that from happening. AIDS is the illness that happens
if HIV is left untreated. Come on, people! Having HIV does not
mean you’ll develop AIDS. Can I get it if I touch you? There’s a lot of people in trouble
if that is the case. When people are like,
“If I kissed you… Why would you… Why would… Why are we talking about kissing? I don’t know you. You don’t know me. No. People say things like, “Oh, people
living with HIV should all be “quarantined and sent off
to an island to live.” Look, if you want to send me
to the Bahamas – great. I’m all happy for it. But this idea that we should all
either, like, be quarantined, or we shouldn’t have children,
we shouldn’t have relationships, we shouldn’t be allowed
to have jobs. I just think
it’s absolutely ridiculous. And these are the kind of myths that make HIV-positive people
too scared to come out. I met James when we were about 17. He was one of the first-ever young
people I’d met living with HIV. I wanted him to be a part
of this documentary. He wanted to be anonymous. So I’ve named him James. So, when I came out, I came out
with this whole Diana Award thing. Mm-hm. Have you thought
about coming out publicly? I think about this all the time literally, like, it’s always on my mind. I’m, like, the level of lies… Yeah that I’ve probably told
throughout my whole life is intense. Yeah. It is weird feeling like the
life you live is a lie. We always talk about feeling
like we were Hannah Montana. Yeah. Doing all these crazy things and
stuff, but you had to just, like… Hide your face behind a wig. Reasons you haven’t come out –
let’s unpack that. I feel like a lot of the reasons why
I haven’t come out is mainly due to protecting my family cos
I don’t want them involved in… any of the, like, negative stigma
that I receive. Because it sucks. It really does suck. And, like… And imagine getting that and you’re
not even HIV-positive.Yeah. Like, eugh, what a nightmare. Like,
that would honestly drive me insane. Like, I don’t want anyone
to go through that. Mm-hm. So I kind of don’t come out just
to protect the people around me. Do you think you’ll ever come out
in the future, like, properly? Yeah, I would. Really? I would do it. I would honestly. I would come out in the future. I didn’t expect
that he would be like, “Yeah. I definitely will
at one point.” Yeah, I don’t think I was ever like,
“Yeah, I definitely will.” I think I was just like, “Well,
if it happens, it happens.” So for him to be so, like, “Yeah,
it’s going to happen one day,” was a shock to me. Hmm…sounds like he’s really close
to coming out. What’s it like telling someone
you’re dating you have HIV? When’s the right time? Erm… I’m going to need some help
answering this one. 15 days ago.. life quite… ..changed forever. I was told I was HIV-positive. The day after I posted the video, inappropriate images of me
were posted on the internet. So my nudes were leaked. Oh, man… When I tell people that,
they’re like, “How did you get through that?” It didn’t… I was in, like,
warrior-mode. It didn’t faze me. I’d been diagnosed with HIV. Yeah. Looking back, it’s not the worst
thing in the world. But, at the time, there was nothing
you could do to me. There was absolutely nothing
you could do to me that was worse than my diagnosis. Even I…. …had this heavy stigma around HIV. I believed it was a death sentence. When HIV’s treated..’s manageable. I can’t pass it on. I think dating and HIV are two
things that you struggle… first, to combine. Because how do you bring it up? How are they going to take it?
How are they going to react? And I think you face that even more than you do with a friend
or a family member. Because this is someone
that you want to be with, it’s someone that you want
to put all your trust in, and if they can’t accept it, then… Who can…who can. Yeah, like… ..who can? So obviously on Grindr, you can
put your HIV status on your profile. Yeah.Would you ever do that?
Have you ever done that?Previously, when I have had dating
apps – yes, I have.I have told people. Which, in a way,
stops people who don’t want to know.Stops them messaging you.Yeah.
Like, “Don’t message me.”But in the exact same breath,
it just opens up a pit of peoplebeing able to call you dirty,being able to call you whatever
they want to call you.I still get negative comments
on my YouTube.I still have to hear
vile, vile words,and things that I don’t want
to hear but I do.It’s a matter of… with HIV, I guess.I also just want to say
that it’s not a gay disease.It’s not something
that gay people get.Erm, straight people… can get it too.Erm…So please go and get tested.So if you do go and test positive,
then it’s OK because you can start on treatment and become
undetectable. Undetectable means untransmittable. {an8}And because U equals U… {an8} cannot pass it on. What will happen
when you have children?Erm…Good question. I’m on medicine, so there’s, like,
a less than 1% chance that they’ll get it. And then… ..they’ll be born.And…yeah.All three of them,
she’s going to have triplets.Yeah!Triplets?!
We’ve discussed this…{an8}Don’t believe me? {an8}My mate Paida is HIV-positive. {an8}Her son, Kai, is not. Did you always know that you wanted
to be a mum and have a family?Yeah.That was just like a dream for me,
to be a mum.Where are you?As an undetectable,
you get the same treatmentas a normal pregnant woman.You get the same appointments, you
don’t have no extra drugs. Nothing.It’s just the same treatment
as everyone else.I was so emotional when he was born.
Mm-hm.I treat him as like
a little miracle.Like, “OK, I’m a mother,
and I’m on medication.”Yeah.And it was just like, “Wow”.Yeah…When I came out, Paida was one
of only five young people I knew who’d come out in the UK.I did come out, like,
on a Facebook post.Like, one day, I just sat there,
bawling my eyes outin front of everyone.I just can’t believe you did
all of that at, like, 15, 16. I just… Yeah. Speaking to Paida, I was like, “There’s no way I would ever do
a Facebook status.” It just isn’t… Just can’t imagine someone scrolling
through Facebook, eating their tea, and being like,
“Whoa, whoa, hold up!” You know? Like, it’s… the nicest way,
it’s such a 15-year-old way to come out, isn’t it?The worst scenario was when I
actually got jumped.Jeez, I didn’t know you got jumped.
Yeah.I got attacked outside the college.That was, like, one of my lowest.I almost regretted it, like,
regretted actually coming out.I was like, “OK, is that going
to be my life now? Yeah. A person comes out, and they
literally get jumped. A person comes out, and people are saying stuff about
them in the hallways. You know, a person comes out, and
they get a text from old friends being like, “Don’t ever come round
my house again.” These are the actual repercussions. And just cos I didn’t face them and
I’m like, “Oh, yeah, you know, like, “coming out – it’s been fine for me
and everyone’s been so supportive.” I want people to understand that’s
why James had to be anonymous. Because there is that reality
of, actually, coming out could be terrible. It might not be,
but it could be. I’ve come out on an international
scale, and I’m now starting to realise maybe I’m not even as
comfortable as I thought that I was with just living with HIV. Oh, yeah, like,
I do all this stuff, but I feel like if I’m talking about
HIV, I have to talk about it in the context of what I do,
rather than just like, “Yeah, I have HIV. So what?” I wouldn’t want to lull people
into a false sense of, like, “Oh, yeah, like, Mercy’s got it
under wraps. It’s all good.” Because it’s obviously not if I’m
like, “Well, I can’t just simply
be HIV-positive.” I have to, like… doing something. To, like,
be inspiring about it. So, today I’ve invited everyone
to my gorgeous home.I’m kidding.You wish! Hopefully, I was going to come
here and have some fun. I’ve invited James and, obviously,
so far he’s been anonymous… he’s still making the decision. I’m not sure if he’s going
to turn up today. But I think he will. Glitter. I hope you’re ready
to be covered in it.I’m ready. I’m ready.This is going to look good. It’s…So, James has just texted saying,
“I don’t think I can make it.” Everything’s good. He just wasn’t
ready to be so open about things, which is fine but…still kind of
sad because it was so fun to have him as a part of this. And cos he was such a big part
of me coming out. So it would have been, like,
nice to have that. I understand that – feeling
like it’s not the right time. But I also wonder
if there is a right time. If you’re holding out for the
“this is the moment,” I don’t know if life pans
out the way. It’s 2019. This is the new face of HIV. It’s not about death. It’s about life.

46 thoughts on “HIV Positive: Seriously, you can’t catch it from kissing – BBC Stories

  1. It just angers me that it’s always the lgbtq or black community that’s in the preventive ads or just associated with it. Working in healthcare, you see it does not discriminate. Anyone can have it. Rich, poor, straight, gay, religious, atheist, black, white. We are all humans susceptible to this disease.

  2. There are types that can be contracted through kissing. Also, why would you proud of having a disease? I have two autoimmune disorders and I'm not proud. Because of them I gain weight literally if I eat. I do get stigmatised because of my weight. People assume I eat a lot, I eat a lot of sweets and don't work out.

  3. OK you are wanting a great life in which you deserve but don't understand why you would be proud of having HIV

  4. When there is a group of people who collect disease like this, it seems very irresponsible to try add pride to it. I don’t think you should be ashamed, but proud is really odd.

  5. Sorry but really no reason to be proud. It's a horrible defeat and means you seriously screwed up somewhere along the way. Let's call it for what it is

  6. Proud is a weird statement to make but I understand why that girl who was born with it deserves to feel accepted since she did nothing to deserve having the disease since she was born with it. People probably have all the preconceptions about her even was she was a child so she’s very brave

  7. I have a question, what the fuck is there to be proud about?

    Yeah I dont give a shit if youre trying to educate people on the reality of it but is being PROUD really the right word for it?

  8. I think people is misinterpreteting the use of the word “proud” here. My understanding is the a person must be proud of herself regardless…. I mean, youre not proud of being HIV positive, but youre proud despite that… you just dont let your status get in the way of you being happy and proud to be you… thats the idea here…

  9. I am sorry you were born with this may you have a good life. The people who spread this horrible virus because of immorality are as good as murderers in my way of thinking.

  10. This comment section is negative. Come on guys she was born with HIV. Use your education to think through before posting comments

  11. Should have a tattoo on they but or privates indicating HIV positive or should have STD card statuses for all people to prevent spead and promote screening.

  12. Is it you or YouTube disabling comments on the videos you made about various Muhammadans throwing acid? Is it you or YouTube who dislikes anyone criticizing Islam? Fk Muhammad (piss be upon him)

  13. >Having HIV doesn't mean you'll have AIDS.

    That's not DEDUCTIVE reasoning or a guarantee, luv! Loads of HIV positive people live in denial and refuse to take meds. Seen it with my own eyes.

    True, it's not the death sentence it was but let's not get it twisted – if you leave your HIV unchecked too long … it DOES cause AIDS!

  14. Just to be clear, she uses the word "PROUD" because the majority of people who are HIV positive feel "ASHAMED". PROUD here means NOT BEING ASHAMED of who you are.

  15. I found this video nice but It almost made it look trendy look at me I have this disease there is nothing wrong with it I had a woman who has this condition living with me people in church pushed her away even to the point I confronted her she said she was going to leave the house I said no way your staying here gave her a cuddle and a kiss but she was the most clean person ever she refused to share cups plates loads of house hold things she was crazy about germs washed fruit every thing jokes aside I think she would wash me but it is hard I am clean so I hope people don't take this like the common cold

  16. So minorities, gay people or drug users are HIV positive ok I'll make a mental note of who to avoid thanks for the heads up

  17. briefly, I need doctor describe symptoms and factors. all seem like sex campaign. black-skin and withe gay pleasures around, without Asian white. Strange. massage parlour has not one of them. I will use them to scream my sterile situation. It's not only from girl. I'm in non-human communication. all sex or not sex. When not sex, they even chatting robots, control from outside.
    Japan misunderstand. They can't understand dog or Human. animal side controls me, human. I scene in Savannah in Europe, wherever. black sexy around like animals. White as well. whoa, Asian ugly shows up… I wanna notify you.. Asian is more…mankind.

  18. Most peoples gums bleed at some point throughout the day in small amounts without them even noticing it even with the best brushing hygiene and do you really want to risk kissing someone with HIV when the saliva that has mixed with that blood has moistened their licked lips a few moments before in nervous anticipation at kissing you…Its real people…this isnt made up…a real risk here at spreading HIV…..but go ahead…whatever

  19. I know of many people that were born with the disease or aquire it by no fault of their own. They struggle so much to find acceptance with others and battle depression. Awareness like this really helps a lot of people to accept who they are and know that HIV does NOT define them.
    The comment section is full of dullard, judgemental inbreds that want to remain ignorant on this issue. Shame on you.

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