Peter has been living with HIV for the past 21 years. He contracted the virus after coming in contact with an infected needle while in prison.
Peter has struggled with drugs for most of his life. In his late 20’s, he became involved in dealing amphetamines while living up in Brisbane. He was determined to give his children the life he didn’t have when he was growing up and the easy money he made in dealing became a way of providing this life.
Peter had been heavily involved in the drug scene for 5 years when he suddenly lost his job as a boiler maker. This caused a lot of strain on his marriage and shortly after, his wife left him - moving out of the family home with Peter’s two young daughters. His ex-wife took out an AVO against Peter and cut off all access to his children. Peter was devoted to his daughters and was devastated that he could no longer see them. His marriage breakdown and separation from his children ultimately led to Peter’s downfall.
With nothing left to keep him in Brisbane as he was now unable to see his children, Peter moved down to Sydney. Falling in with the wrong crowd, Peter was introduced to heroin and quickly became addicted. The next few years saw Peter in and out of prison for drug-related crimes until he ended up in Goulburn Correctional Centre in 2004. It was during his time in Goulburn that Peter contracted HIV.
Peter struggled for the next decade, attempting to deal with his serious drug habits while trying to stay healthy with his HIV. It wasn’t until 2013 that Peter got reconnected to BGF and started to turn his life around. Peter’s Case Manager at BGF arranged for him to get social housing accommodation in Redfern and he has received financial support to purchase a computer for his study and a push bike for exercise.
“BGF is the only place that has ever really stuck it out and been there for me. They go out of their way to help you,” said Peter. “I feel 100% sure that they care about me and have my best interests in mind.”
While his HIV diagnosis has certainly been challenging, Peter believes that the hardest part of his life has been his estrangement from his two daughters. Peter hasn’t seen his children since his ex-wife took out an AVO against him and he is desperate to be reconciled to them. The only constant companion Peter has in his life at the moment is Biscuit, his 20 year old cat. Biscuit is Peter’s constant companion and he gives Peter a reason to keep on living.
Peter is determined to get back on his feet and be worthy of his daughters. He is now half-way through a TAFE Certificate IV in Community Services. He wants to use his vast experience of narcotics to become an Alcohol and Drug Counsellor and help other people like him get a fresh start in life.