I was born in one of many Russian provincial towns. When I was about 14 years old I realized that I liked women. For a long time, I couldn't bring myself up to talk to anyone about it, knowing how people, who love differently, are treated in Russia. I was raised by my grandmother who new about my love for women and accepted it. In my city I worked as a postman and currier. Science I was 20 I stopped hiding my sexual orientation but for some reason most of the people treated it like some silliness or nonsense. This way it was also easier for me because I was spared the morality talks. My grandmother died in 2015 and before that, in 2013, I was told that I am HIV-positive.
There was no treatment in my city and my condition worsened, so I went to Moscow. From the metro I made an emergency call and was brought to a hospital. I was diagnosed with AIDS and I spent about 1,5 years in hospital treatment. During that time, the flat, that I inherited, was sold behind my back. I was left without a home. I had nowhere to go after I was released. Shortly before my release I was lucky to find out about the shelter. I knew it was my only chance. I filled in the application and was called about 10 minutes after that.
I described everything truthfully. About not having a shelter and also about HIV. I was told to come live in the shelter. But unexpectedly, I was kept in the hospital for one more month. After that month has passed, I called them, honestly believing, that I would be denied. Maybe they thought that I am an unreliable person because I didn't come last time. But everything turned out well. And I came to the shelter. I was welcomed very warmly. I got to know all other residents. Everyone supported and encouraged me. And I realized that I belong in that community. Being there for 1,5 month I managed to do a lot. I got a registration (t.n. necessary to be allowed to stay in the city) and registered at the AIDS-Center to receive vital HIV therapy.
For the period of staying you receive a ticket. It is very important because transportation in Moscow is very expensive. Free meals. And not just snacks but real nutritious food. A full-fledged meal. You can really see that the management cares about its guests and they don't want them to have gastritis. You are also provided with tooth brush, tooth paste, soap, shampoo and a towel. There is also psychological counselling. That has helped me and the other guys a lot because many of them are devasted. I felt calm and comfortable at the shelter. I knew that no one would show contempt because I'm a lesbian. That nobody would insult or hurt me. Everyone cared for each other. Shelter has helped me a lot. With its help I literally was able to stand on my own two feet. It is very important that this shelter continues to exist to help people who come in difficult straits just because of who they love. A state institution could have never helped me like that.