40, Double Degreed and HIV Positive
Am I bragging? Hell yeah!
I didn't even think about college or my future when I was first diagnosed. I started doubting myself and stopped living my life.
It is not easy to live with HIV. This disease: it fucks with you more mentally than anything. You get your mental health issues, doubts and concerns. It’s scary, but at some point, you say, “Damn it. I'm HIV positive and I want to live.”
This journey hasn't been easy and the road had plenty of bumps, but you know what: this is what life is. I am not diminishing what HIV has done to my life, but life is a rollercoaster ride without it and our object is to learn how to get over the fear of speed and heights as much as possible. I am well on my way to do just that and this feels good!
I'm telling my story due to seeing so many young people dying from complications of this disease. The secret to living 16 years with HIV is care. If you are positive and not taking medication and seeing a physician, then PLEASE CHANGE THAT. I've been admitted to the hospital twice since my diagnosis, one was last year when I broke my ankle and earlier this year when they found blood clots in my lungs (likely from the ankle surgery). I never been admitted for HIV complications and that is because I see my doctor every 3 months and I take my medication. HIV is nothing to be ashamed about—you want to live, right? Access to care is a phone call away no matter what your financial situation consists of. Stop with the excuses. Fuck who you see at the clinic! I'm here just like you because I want to live. You can't wait; the disease will progress if not treated with the medication designed to fight the virus. You can't let the virus take control of your body...and then go into the hospital and find out you have 5 T-cells and got that dreaded outdated AIDS diagnosis. Also, it’s important to take your medication so you won't have to get to that point. As someone who is an HIV-positive person, the goal is to achieve undetectable levels after being on medication. This is another thing that taking your medication does which is hopefully allow the doctor to give you an undetectable status in the future. This undetectable viral load reduces the likelihood of transmission to sexual partners. This doesn’t give you the right to fuck raw; shit, there are other STDs are out there.
You can remain undetectable if you continue to take your medication as directed. You still have the HIV virus but undetectable means you are involved in saving your own life. You must fight; silence equals death! We as a community must have these discussions with our friends. Stigma, shame and lack of knowledge are the main reasons HIV is killing our friends and loved ones. If you are not in care or taking medication, please have a talk with yourself and deal with those demons. You must do this for yourself and only you have this POWER.
If you know someone that is positive talk to them, encourage them, ask them how they are doing? Are you going to the doctor? We just want love and compassion, not your sympathy.
I'm HIV positive and I will be turning 40 years old next year. Will you? I'm sure after this post it will get likes and comments. I'm also sure I will get the stares and whispers—I don't care cause I'm living just like you are. I plan on achieving all my goals and ambitions. I will not stay silent anymore—I can't! This epidemic is killing our black gay men.