This is Luke, 19 years old and HIV-positive.


A year ago Luke was a young and fearless 18 year old with “nothing but drugs, clubs and money on his mind”, as he says it.


Soon after the sexual encounter where he became exposed to HIV, he remembers the first signs of illness taking over his body. “My sky-high body temperature was met with the feeling of being locked in an industrial freezer…Functioning on around only two hours of sleep and feeling as sick as a parrot; stopping off at Costa to get some food, only to vomit it back up again on the train I’d boarded at Piccadilly.”


In June 2013, Luke was diagnosed as HIV-positive.


Having started treatment early in late August and now with an undetectable viral load, he finally has the courage to reflect upon the last 12 months and the moment he contracted HIV; something he had blocked out of his mind for so long.


“Of course, not every short-term sickness is going to signify HIV, but if you notice an illness similar to mine after taking a risk, just be aware: Early diagnosis saves lives…and with around 80% of those infected with HIV experiencing some form of initial illness, it’s worth paying attention to.”


Read Luke’s full journey here.