Badminton star candidly talks about being HIV-positive in landmark ‘stigma-busting’ episode of First Dates

Patrick Kelleher February 3, 2020
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Shane First Dates Ireland HIV

Shane from Cork opened up about his HIV diagnosis on First Dates Ireland (RTÉ Player)

A 25-year-old gay man has opened up about his HIV diagnosis in a powerful, landmark episode of RTÉ’s First Dates Ireland.

Shane, from Cork, Ireland, told his 24-year-old date Dylan that he was diagnosed with HIV just over a year ago.

“I’ve no issues telling anyone about it, really,” Shane said.

“I’m very body sensitive. I only really had it for two or three weeks and I found out. They said that normally, commonly, the person’s blood would be in the millions, mine had 150 in and around.”

Shane usually doesn’t discuss his HIV diagnosis on first dates, but made an exception for First Dates Ireland.

The Cork man – whose badminton team previously won the Munster Championship and All Ireland – continued: “I very much kind of set the rule that it’s not a first date discussion, but you’re in the science industry so I was like, ‘He’s surely…'”

His date Dylan replied: “I actually did my master’s basically on cancer and HIV and I work in a HIV company.”

I feel very fortunate that not too long ago it was a death sentence, and people were having the worst time ever, and here I am.

He added: “Honestly, I probably know more of the science facts about it than you do.”

Shane confessed that it’s “always a little bit of a worry” when he has to tell dates about his HIV diagnosis.

Shane First Dates Ireland
Shane on First Dates Ireland (RTÉ)

In a post-date interview, Shane said he feels “very fortunate” about the strides that have been made in treating HIV.

The Cork man has won praise for his candid, ‘stigma-busting’ conversation.

“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 and I was still tired, still sleepy and I thought ‘this isn’t right’ and went to the doctor. I think I had it about two weeks so no long-term damage was done, thank God.

“I feel very fortunate that not too long ago it was a death sentence, and people were having the worst time ever, and here I am.

“I take one tablet in the morning, which means that my health is really not in any jeopardy whatsoever.”

Shane’s powerful appearance on First Dates Ireland has won praise from HIV activists. Adam Shanley, MSM programme manager with HIV Ireland, wrote on Twitter: “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!”


More: first dates, First Dates Ireland, HIV

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