Cork man opens up about HIV positive diagnosis on RTÉ's First Dates

On First Dates last night, a Cork man revealed to his date that he was a person living with HIV, leading to an open discussion about his status.

Cork man, Shane, wearing a floral shirt on First Dates, where he spoke about being diagnosed with HIV

A Cork man has spoken openly about his HIV diagnosis and the importance of promoting awareness on RTE 2’s hit show First Dates last night. 

In the episode, Shane, aged 25, revealed his status to his date, Dylan, 24. After speaking about being diagnosed over a year ago, he said, “I very much set the rule that it’s not a first date discussion. […] It’s always a little bit of a worry when you have to say it.”

However, Dylan’s work as a scientist in HIV treatment put Shane’s concerns to rest. His date’s knowledge highlighted the importance of awareness and understanding as it can help in a person opening up about their condition.

On the latest episode of First Dates, Shane detailed his experience of discovering he was HIV positive saying, “I got the flu, or I thought it was the flu, I felt normal but I knew the recovery was not right. Two weeks later, I was tired, sleepy and I was thinking ‘this isn’t right’. I went to the doctor and had it sorted. I think I had it about two weeks so no long-term damage was done, thank god.”

Shane added, “I’ve no issues with telling anyone about it really. I don’t know if I’m just very body sensitive but I only had it for about two or three weeks before I knew.”

The First Dates episode further illustrated the effectiveness of medical treatment as the two men shared a back and forth over tablet regimens. In the show’s confessional section, Shane said, “I feel very fortunate that not too long ago it was a death sentence, and people were having the worst time ever, but here I am.”

People online have been praising the young Cork man’s bravery in speaking openly about his status. One Twitter user wrote, “Shane, a person living with HIV touching lives with facts not fear, science not stigma! On a date, Shane has normalised regular testing, adherence to treatment and maintaining a healthy life style! By sharing his life story publicly he is saving lives.”

HIV Ireland’s MSM Programme Manager wrote on Twitter, “We’re getting a huge positive response from services users @HIVIreland about Shane sharing his status on #FirstDatesIRL. Shane, like many people living with HIV, lives a happy and healthy life. Platforming this to a huge Irish audience is a big stigma buster! Well done Shane!”

ACT UP Dublin posted, “Great to see Shane being so open about his HIV diagnosis on #FirstDatesIRL tonight. If you’re on this hashtag and new to information on #HIV, here’s a quick explainer on some of what is touched off in this video. #UequalsU #EndStigma.”

Shane’s story has moved people with his open and charming approach, raising awareness and understanding around living with HIV. His date with Dylan was a resounding success as the pair declared “It’s a match.”

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