I am proud to be able to play a part in ensuring that Patrick is not left behind.
When I met Patrick, he explained to me that being gay in China has always been hard but it gets even harder as he gets older and there is more pressure to marry a woman. He says his friends would not hang out with him anymore because being over 30 and single they think there is something wrong with him. The last time he was in China Patrick’s parents tried to force him to marry a woman. He was completely unable to express himself as a gay man, and kept his sexuality a secret.
Patrick was very happy when he came to Australia and fell in love with Mark, and developed friends that knew of and supported their relationship. However after a short time Mark became very controlling and the relationship broke down. Around that time Patrick was diagnosed with HIV, and required psychological support to cope with the shock of the diagnosis.
Patrick is now terrified of returning to China. He fears he won’t find a job in China because many employers require regular medical checks, including HIV tests and refuse to hire HIV positive persons. He will be ostracised by family and friends due to stigma and discrimination in his small, rural village. Patrick told me about another village near his home where people with HIV are sent to live in prison-like conditions. If Patrick gets sick in China he wouldn’t go the doctor for fear they might send him to that “AIDS Village.”
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