An HIV diagnosis
I was diagnosed with HIV in 2007 but contracted the virus in 2003 from a former partner. Going into the clinic I knew my risk – being bisexual, and engaging in unprotected sex; more times than not as the “bottom”. Therefore, and it didn’t really come as a shock, but it was a “wow, I can’t believe it. Really? I knew I was at risk but…” surprise for me. Anyone can get tested for HIV knowing there is that possibility of a positive result. Currently, with advances in the treatment for HIV, it has become a chronic and manageable condition; which can put a person’s mind at ease going in for testing.
Yet, when you hear the words “it’s positive” and ” your positive result has been confirmed” it’s obviously life-changing. I remember telling myself over and over after I received my positive results “I don’t want to go through this. I don’t want to live with this illness, let alone having to go through lifelong treatment for HIV” That being said, getting to know others in my support group for those living with HIV, brought me into focus and was a springboard to know there is a great life ahead for me and to live it.
Looking back now after 18 years of living with HIV, I say to myself what a wonderful human being I am; what a good person I am; with dignity and self-worth. Our chronic illnesses physical, mental, or emotional make our light shine through every shade of darkness.