Brave funnyman out to bust myths about disease
A Rutherglen comedian has revealed he is HIV positive.
Scott Agnew is performing at the Edinburgh Festival and found out the news last year.
He is currently taking one pill a day and hopes to change the stereotypes surrounding the condition.
Rutherglen comedian Scott Agnew has revealed he is HIV positive.
The funnyman, who is currently performing at the Edinburgh Festival, found out the news last year, and is currently taking one pill a day for treatment.
He is hoping that by talking about the subject he can change some of the stereotypes and stigmas that surround the condition.
He told the Reformer: “It’s certainly not a death sentence – my consultant actually said that I’ve probably increased my life expectancy because men in the West of Scotland don’t see their doctors enough and now I’ll be tested regularly because of this!
“The advances in medicine have been unreal. I take one tablet a day and that’s it, other than trying to get a bit fitter than you would be normally.
“The day I was told it hit me like a trainwreck. Usually you get your test result over the phone, and as soon as they say ‘oh, we’d like you to come in to see us’ then you know something’s wrong and you have to coerce them to say something more over the phone.”
Earlier this year Scott spoke to the Reformer about his ongoing struggles with depression, and thoughts of suicide.
While the HIV diagnosis initially caused him to go into a tailspin, it has since had the effect of making the comedian look after himself more.
He said: “You have to think about how you live your life and what you do. For someone who’s thought about killing himself, it’s strange when you put a bit of value in your life and start thinking that you still want to be here.
“When you’re constantly thinking of ways to kill yourself, then you have zero regard for your own life. I had been reckless sexually, but I was always being regularly tested, since I was 18. You’re tested every month, you’re coming back negative and you start to get an invincibility complex, even when you’ve been reckless – you feel like Boris in GoldenEye (the James Bond film) going ‘I am invincible!’
“Oddly, I then contracted HIV when I wasn’t being promiscuous, and that blindsided me a bit.”
Scott has been given strong support by his family, and by the Terrence Higgins Trust after he discovered he had HIV.
He added: “My sister gave me a slap, which was fair enough, then she gave me a hug. My mother was fine about it, and even my grandfather, who’s 88, was fine – I wasn’t intending to tell him but the way things progressed I thought I should say to him.
“He was quite quiet about it, then phoned me the next day. He said ‘it’s just one pill you’re taking? I’m on about eight or nine a day – did you bring me out to the house to say there’s nothing really wrong with you!’”
In 2014, an estimated 103,700 people in the UK were living with HIV, 17 per cent of whom were unaware of their infection.
The comedian is currently performing I’ve Snapped My Banjo String, We Need To Talk, at the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh until August 29.
More information on the work of the Terrence Higgins Trust charity can be found at www.tht.org.uk
My sister gave me a slap, which was fair enough, then she gave me a hug Scott Agnew
Brave Scott has spoken out in a bid to tackle the stigma surrounding HIV