Pastor creates touching video to tell congregation she is HIV-positive

May 22, 2015 at 8:21 a.m. ET
Image: The Telegraph

After she was attacked in 2013 Pastor Hayley Young was diagnosed with HIV. Initially she decided not to share her diagnosis with her congregation but, when her hair started to fall out due to the antiviral drugs she was taking, she made the brave decision to tell them she was HIV-positive.

But 28-year-old Pastor Young revealed her illness in an unusual way. She put together a video and played it to the parishioners at Hayling Island Baptist Church near Portsmouth.

The short film shows Pastor Young holding up large pieces of cardboard to tell her story. The first one reads: "In 2013, after an attack, I was diagnosed with being HIV positive. No, I didn't update my Facebook status or my Twitter feed!" Another says: "Having HIV doesn't mean that I can't have the quality of life that Jesus offers. In being this honest some people may judge me, walk away, not come near, because they think I'm a risk. It doesn't bother me."

Video credit: The Telegraph

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What a brave step to take considering there is still so much stigma around HIV and AIDS. But Pastor Young revealed that her congregation "have all been amazing."

"They have all been overwhelmingly supportive after I played the video — it made me feel very humble," reported the Express.

One member of her flock, Alan Griffiths, said: "Rev Hayley is surely the most extraordinary, courageous person it has been my privilege to know. The reckless actions of others and illness may have weakened the body but you are surely anointed and blessed by God, and continue to be a blessing to all those who know and love you."

For information on HIV, plus help and support, visit the Terence Higgins Trust.

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