Published 06, Jul, 2016
Author // Alex Sparrowhawk

"I'm still smiling today." From the UK, Alex Sparrowhawk looks back on his first seven years of life with HIV.


This photo was taken in the summer of 2009, the middle of June and a week after when I believe I was in infected. At the end of that holiday in the south of France I started to feel unwell but it wasn’t until five months later that I would find out what the fever, sweats and cough I endured for the two weeks after I returned to the UK were all about.

The past seven years with this condition have had their ups and their downs but I am a stronger and more confident person as a result of the journey. My life in many ways is very different to what it once was, but in even more ways it has stayed very much the same.

I am lucky to be surrounded by incredibly supportive people. Seven years ago people were throwing shame on others and this hasn’t changed today. But I was smiling back then and I still am today. Others can waste their energy looking down on people with HIV, they can call us sluts and they can imply we’re dirty – but their ignorance won’t stop me being proud of who I am and what I have overcome.

This article first appeared in Alex’s own blog, HIV and Me here.  

About the Author

Alex Sparrowhawk

Alex Sparrowhawk

“For the past five years I have been living with HIV and the last two years of that openly and with no shame. I use my blog to talk about my own personal journey, my opinions and thoughts and to fight for what is right and fair for all People Living with HIV.

Unashamedly an activist, advocate and voice for all things HIV and LGBT awareness and rights related. As my body continues to battle the virus I continue to fight the fear and ignorance that leads to the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS.”

Alex is from Manchester in the UK. His website/blog Alex Sparrowhawk: HIV & Me is here. He is on twitter at @birdy_tweet.