Man with HIV from town shares his experiences at County Hall

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A Hemel Hempstead man living with HIV has spoken about his personal experiences in front of councillors and health professionals at County Hall.

John Pynaert, who lives in the town centre, was tested positive for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus last year.

Speaking at the event on Friday, which demonstrated the work of county-based sexual health charity Herts Aid saw five other people with the condition sharing their stories, John said: “When I was diagnosed with HIV, my first thought was my life is over.

“However, once I was put in touch with a support worker at Herts Aid things really turned around. Since my diagnosis doors have opened, I now befriend others newly diagnosed with HIV and I’m really positive about the future. Herts Aid has been a lifeline.”

John spoke to the Gazette at length about his diagnosis last November.

In 2012, more than 950 people were diagnosed with HIV in Hertfordshire. Herts Aid offers people with the virus support to come to terms with their diagnosis and manage their condition.

The charity’s director Suzanne Bannister said: “This event was an opportunity to highlight some of the vital work that’s been going on across the county in the last year.

“It was also a chance for local councillors and health professionals to hear from some people with HIV themselves about the reality of life with the condition.”

Click here for more on Herts Aid.