We caught up with local guy Matty Cavan to talk about those vile online messages he received on World Aids Day last week, and find our what’s happened since then.
The messages came thick and fast online from the faceless profile, a tirade of abuse including messages like “ I hope you die of Aids” and “you deserve everything you get”. We asked Matty how messages like this made him feel.
“Awful! Even though it was a faceless nameless profile and shouldn’t affect me it really did.”
Since then Matty has received an enormous amount of support from his family, friends, work colleagues and even strangers on the street. But yesterday while at work he was approached by a lady while he was serving another customer. This is what happened in his own words…
“an older (late 40s) woman came to the stall, I was helping a customer at the time. When the customer left she (the woman) came up and just said “I saw you in the paper”. Thinking she was gonna offer nice words, I said “Yes, I can’t believe the attention it’s got.” She then in a very calm manner said that she thought that I should not be working in such a public way, especially if I am so proud of being sick and dirty, it is nothing to be proud of and she certainly wouldn’t buy anything from me.”
Matty then apologized to the woman that she felt that way and got back to work. Afterwards he told us that the situation played on his mind and “paranoia set in”. He felt “super self conscious” and it felt like everyone was thinking it. Luckily after speaking to his mum, his boss, supportive texts from family, and a visit to work from his dad Matty remembered that he has an amazing support network.
Reflecting on the past week, Matty says it’s been “a fu**ing horrific week”, but he would send out the following message to people who see his story but don’t know much about HIV or people living with HIV…
“I am a human, I have human feelings and words can really hurt. I am not dirty, I had sex without a condom and was unlucky! I am very lucky to have the support of my family and friends and hundreds of strangers, but not every positive person is as lucky as I am! HIV is not the killer it used to be, the true killer is the stigma and the words people use. So I suppose my message is; please find it in your soul to show compassion and humanity … HIV is tough enough to deal with, we really don’t need you beating us up with your words as well. Live and let live.”
MAIN IMAGE CREDIT: SIMON CRAWFORD: Http://facebook.com/photo.crawford