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Living To Live

Stories Of Promise

I contracted HIV from having unprotected sex. This was 22 years ago. Before my child’s mother and I got together, I was tested for HIV and STIs. It all came back negative. We were monogamous. She always said, “nah she didn’t have it,” but I knew I didn’t have it at that time. I got really sick and wound up in the hospital. They told me I have HIV and I was like “what!?” I got that bad and didn’t even know what was going on. It was a shock, but it was like “anybody but me.” It really hit home. After I found out I was HIV positive, I talked to her about it. It wasn’t no angry conversation. She was nonchalant, so I figured she already had it. I just put two and two together.

I started using drugs around when I found out I had HIV. I was using before, but everything got elevated. I was using cocaine, alcohol and sometimes weed. I was in denial and trying to cope. I first went to treatment in 2017. I graduated from the substance abuse program, but I graduated because my family said I had to. This time I came back for mental and physical issues. Being here, I got treatment for all the above. I have a mental health therapist and dealing with her has been a blessing. It’s been good staying clean and sober, and I’ll graduate from the program again in October. I am housed and back on my meds, and that’s a blessing all in itself. I was only 102 pounds when I got here, and now I’m 225. It’s a big difference from when I got here to now.

Once I found out I was diagnosed I started taking medications. I was taking probably 4 or 5 pills. I haven’t really maintained my meds during this whole time I’ve had it. I just started back taking medicine like I needed to do. There were periods when I didn’t take it at all, like when I was dealing with my cocaine habit for about four or five years. I had given up on life. I was depressed and having suicidal thoughts. Thank God I don’t think like that no more. I got to give it to my Higher Power and this agency for giving me the strength to do what I'm doing now. Clean and sober for 4 months; it can be done. I’m proud and happy. I don’t want that life no more. It’s definitely worth it.

I finally really accepted it this year. That’s why I’m dealing with it here at this agency for people who are HIV positive. I thank God or my Higher Power that gave me the strength to deal with it now. I’m living with it. Not living to die, I'm living to live. I would tell someone who is newly diagnosed to take their medications as soon as they find out. You can live and not die. You can have a great life. Clean and sober and taking your meds. I’m a witness. I look healthy and feel good. I live life one day at a time. Just for today.

Broward House is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status.

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2800 N Andrews Ave,

Wilton Manors, FL 33311

Tel (954) 568-7373 ext 7373

Email: info@browardhouse.org


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