Not Knowing Is A Dangerous Thing
I was maybe 26 when I found out I was living with HIV. I had fallen sick some kind of way; I got a cold or something. I ended up going to a medical center, and this nurse was telling me once I got in, “do you want to get tested for HIV?” I told her no because I was like “what is HIV?” She said I’m going to test you anyway. About an hour later, she was like, “well I got the results.” She sat down and looked at me and said it came back positive. I said, “positive?” and she said, “yeah,” and I started crying. I felt terrible because at the end of the day I didn’t know where I was going to stand. The nurse said, “if you start the medicine now it can save you” because at the end of the day, I just was sick.
I cried and cried for about two hours, so I said finally I need to call my mom and tell my mom. When I called my mom, she answered and I was like, “mom I got something I want to tell you.” She was like “what?” I said, “I got HIV,” and she started screaming. I heard my sister and brother screaming, and my mom started crying. I heard the phone drop. Weeks after my family found out my status, they were stuck on me, trying to make me do right. They weren’t hard on me at all, they were loving on me, and I didn’t accept it at the time.
I was on drugs, so sometimes I used protection. When you’re on drugs, you’re not really using protection all the time. You’re doing it for the money or doing it for the pleasure of sex when you’re doing drugs. I ended up going to primary care after I found out my status. I started getting my treatment there. I was taking my medication on a regular basis, but sometimes when I would tip out, and get high or whatever, I wouldn’t take it. The thing is, you’re not supposed to stop taking it. You’re supposed to be constantly on your medicine because if you don’t, some of the medicines won’t work, and your T-cells will drop. Then, you’ll be in trouble. The doctor had told me one of my arteries wasn’t right. I was getting scared straight. My health was deteriorating because I wasn’t taking my medicine right because I was getting high. That’s when I started going to the doctor and following up on all my appointments. I have been on a few regimens, but with this last regimen I am undetectable.
I was out there running the streets, doing whatever I wanted to do, but at the end of the day, I came in, and that’s that. I would say get tested because it’s the best thing to do. Not knowing is a dangerous thing. After the simple fact, once you get tested you can do something about it. At the end of the day, it helped me, and I’m undetectable. I’m living my life normal, and I’m happy.