Ji Wallace, Australian Olympian (Pic: GayStarNews)

Since I was diagnosed back in 2009 as living with HIV, I have tried to live my life openly. This blog started off anonymously but then I realised that this was self-stigmatizing. Not something to be proud of.

As part of my commemoration of World AIDS Day in December 2010, I ‘came out‘ on this blog as myself.

Over in London, an Olympic trampolinist, Ji Wallace has just come out as positive too. Far too often people living with HIV live their lives, keeping their diagnosis a secret, not telling anyone other than the medical staff at the GUM clinic. This is no way to live your life.

Support is widespread across society for those living with other conditions like cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, but the support for those living with HIV is usually quite limited. We are fortunate that here in Belfast we have an excellent local charity working with and for the HIV positive community here in Northern Ireland. The help and support they provide is vital for the people of Northern Ireland.

I am one, but there are a few others of us who are living openly in Northern Ireland. I will never ‘out’ anyone else living with HIV – it’s not my place to do so. It’s not my story, but theirs. But I do hope that my little contribution on this blog and the contributions of others including Ji Wallace will make it more possible for all of us living with HIV to live openly, and not live in fear of stigma.