Banu Şen - İZMİR
A man who was infected with HIV at birth 21 years ago due to a blood transfusion from the Red Crescent has broken his silence more than two decades later, saying he does not wish to stay in a country in which he has been alienated.
“I have not even a friend until today. Everybody ran away from me. I was very alienated and I do not want to stay in a country where I am alienated,” said Y.O.
The man, the son of a bus driver father and housewife mother, was born prematurely in İzmir in 1996, prompting medical professionals to determine that he required a blood transfusion.
Y.O. was given blood by the Turkish Red Crescent but it was later determined to be infected with HIV.
The man said he had suffered through pain all on his own even though he did nothing wrong to become infected with HIV.
He also said he came to understand he was ill when he was very young, especially after he began going to school.
“They did not want me in school and class. This situation has been going on my whole educational life,” he said.
He said he wanted to fall in love or have a girlfriend but that there was never any chance of such a development occurring.
“Everybody was looking at me as if they didn’t see me. I lived with this feeling for a long time. When I started high school, I tried to say this illness could not be passed on by shaking hands or talking. But it did not work. I have not talked to anybody until today except my relatives and parents. Can you imagine that I have sat alone at my desk and even on the shuttle for years?” Y.O. said.
The man said he started to read books due to his loneliness, noting that he read hundreds of pages a day.
“I was always alienated. Even my father couldn’t find a job because of me. So, I created a world with books. I have read thousands of books. I read from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. I finish 500-600 pages a day. I explored language via books and I learned English by myself. I have created a virtual world with books and the internet,” he added.
He said he had not enrolled in university due to his fears about alienation but dreamed about going overseas.
“I only go to drama class, but I still have fears of alienation. I wish I had not been here. I always dream about myself abroad. I researched that some countries are more conscious about HIV. I do not want to live in a country where I am alienated,” he said.
Y.O. said he and his lawyer, Mehmet Emin Keleş, were writing a book about the subject, noting that he would tell his personal story while Keleş would relate the legal side.