Abby was seeing her male partner for only for a couple of weeks, then he became really strange and aggressive and kept insistently pursuing her. At the same time, Abby became really sick and began began cold sores for the first time. Not feeling at all good about this person, Abby pushed for a bit of information. Eventually, all he said was, "Well at least you’ll remember me forever.”
Abby attended PozQuest for Women, a weekend retreat run by the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation exclusively for HIV positive women. Through PozQuest, Abby was able to find other women who had a range of experiences living with HIV and form an invaluable support network. Education programs run by the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation that ignites people's capacity and restores wellness are only possible through the generous support of donors like you.
Abby's StoryAbby was seeing her male partner for only for a couple of weeks, then he became really strange and aggressive and kept insistently pursuing her. At the same time, Abby became really sick and began cold sores for the first time. Not feeling at all good about this person, Abby pushed for a bit of information. Eventually, all he said was, "Well at least you’ll remember me forever.”
Abby was shocked and her head filled with images from her only frame of reference, images of the sick and dying from the 1980s."When I first got the diagnosis, I said I don’t want to live with this. It just doesn’t seem worth it. It was too horrible to imagine. It was a devastating piece of news to receive. I was diagnosed at the beginning of March 2012.
"The hardest part I found was seeing the reaction of those people who love you most. I found that a really painful experience," Abby said.
"My older brother was shell shocked and asked if I was telling him some horribly cruel joke. I think Mum found it the hardest out of everyone because she saw the scare campaign of the 80s. Mum kept telling me she thought she failed me because she couldn't protect me."
Living with HIV
Abby feels absolutely hopeful for her future.
"My life feels exactly the same after diagnosis as it did before.Sure, there has been a spanner in the works and my direction has changed a little bit, but I feel like my life’s become fuller now because I have this to deal with.
I’m passionate about educating people about the virus and lessening the stigma. In the future I want to do a lot in the HIV positive community, and I’ve started in all of that," Abby said.
Outside of advocating for the positive community, Abby plans to finish her law degree, keep working, and do all the things she planned to do anyway. Starting a family may also figure in Abby's future.
"Further down the track, Its 100 percent possible for me to have kids and a family if I want to do that, but it’s not something that plays on my mind at all at the moment," Abby said.
Abby's family has been on the same journey of learning and discovery about living with HIV.
"We all know so much more about HIV now. I have been quite open with my status, and everyone’s just sort of embraced that. My parents are really proud that I’m sharing my story with others. Initially they were wary because they were concerned that being open about my status would damage my future, but they saw that being open about my status could potentially help other people who are going through the same thing."
How BGF Helped
Abby's first real contact with the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation was PozQuest for Women, which was a weekend retreat exclusively for positive women.
"It was brilliant. I always find any chance I get to spend time with other positive people, it’s always very eye opening and empowering, and it makes me feel really lucky to have these people as support, and to put my situation in context."Abby is very grateful to the donors who made PozQuest for Women possible.
"I think people who donate to the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation make these things a reality for a lot of people who may not be alive if BGF did not exist. So, that’s an absolute massive thank you, really."Abby says she is lucky because she has supportive friends and family, is fully employed, and so far HIV hasn't effected her health.
"I can afford my treatment. The reality is, there is a vast number of people living with HIV who can’t work and can’t afford treatments," Abby said.
"To people viewing my story who are yet to donate, I would say please give. Without organisations like the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation, people living with HIV who really need help the most would be even more disadvantaged and more vulnerable than they already are."