Don’t Hold Anything Back
I found out I was HIV positive when I went to a clinic in the area in early 2000. My best friend and I decided to go get tested. I found out then that I was positive.
I didn't feel any different after I got tested and I still didn't feel any different after they gave me the results. It didn't hit me right away. And I kept the fact that I was positive with HIV a secret, because I didn't want anybody to look at me different. I never expected or thought I would contract HIV. I thought that I was invincible. There was a lot of fear and shame because growing up Christian I was taught; guys are not supposed to be with guys and girls are not supposed to be with girls. So, I just kept everything, my status and my sexuality a secret. I just kept living my life, like nothing happened, which was careless. I've kept journals since I was a little kid. I wrote in my journal, but that was it. The only “person” I really told that I was HIV positive was my journal.
I didn't get any treatment right away and my health failed. I got really sick with what I thought was a cold but, it turned out that I had walking pneumonia. My body shut down on me. I couldn't even lift a book. I went to the hospital to get help and they told me “you can't go home.” I was admitted overnight and ended up in the hospital for about two weeks.
Because I had not told my family about my diagnosis, I felt that this was an opening to tell them. I decided then, okay, I have to tell somebody. When they came to visit me at the hospital, I told them. I thought they were going to judge me, but my mom and my family just put their arms around me and said “I love you.” I felt relief. It was like this weight lifted off my shoulders. They know, they love me, they accept me. I appreciate the support and love from them. They don't give me any judgment and they don't treat me any different. Everything is normal.
I realize now when I got the diagnosis that it would have been important to take time and think about it. Talk to someone that you can trust first about your diagnosis and then, work from there. It starts with just one person. Once you feel comfortable talking to that one person, then you'll be okay talking to someone. Recently, I got in a relationship. We both had a crush on each other for years. He started off by saying to me that he had to tell me something before we got serious. He said that he is HIV positive. I told him I was also positive and since we are both positive, we've got to stay safe, take our medicine and talk to each other. Don't hold anything back