Several years ago, after a HIV positive friend died, Anthony (not real name), a 28 year old bisexual man, decided to get tested for the virus. Despite understanding he is part of a high risk population he doesn’t want to risk the stigma associated with a HIV positive diagnosis: “if it happens to be that I'm positive then it's gonna be a double blow on me so I just decided I don't wanna take it.” The double blow he refers to is being gay and HIV positive. Talking about why he took the test in the first place he says: “I was young, wild, and free. I was just having fun. To me, it was fun. But when I realized things were going wrong and people were dying here and there, I lost a friend, then I decided, no, I needed to go take the test. So after that, I've been very careful when it comes to HIV and sex... if I was, if I got tested and was HIV positive, I know to think that I'm gonna lose a few friends because most gay people have this perception that if your friend is positive then the chances of you being positive is high and everybody points hands at you just because you're friends with him. So, definitely I'm gonna lose a few friends if I was positive.” Ghana. 09 March, 2018. Photo Robin Hammond/Witness Change

Anthony /

“I’m Anthony. A guy who loves cooking and with an accounting background. In my early age of teen, which is thirteen, I realized I had feelings for men, which I found strange and felt I was the only one with this feeling. So I decided to keep it to myself. In the start, I did my best to work on it because I thought it was a mental challenge. But all efforts got me to nothing. People called me names ’cause I had little female tendencies and that mostly discouraged me and made me feel I was less of a human.

At around age 18, after struggling, humiliations, insults and discriminations, I realized it was not worth me pretending to be who or what I’m not. So I accepted who I am and moved on with life. At a point in my life, I had to give up again because I was blackmailed by a male friend who visited me and framed me of touching him inappropriately. The news got to my family because I reported at the police station. All through I felt stigmatized and disgraced by the police because of the accusations laid on me. I pushed to the very end ’til the case was slashed out as a foolish case. After that experience I have never been myself in life. I’ve never been myself and life has never been the same again.”

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