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Stories Of Promise - It Helps to Talk to Someone

Stories Of Promise

My name is Angel, and I’m a 48-year old Hispanic guy living in South Florida,

and I’m also living with HIV. I found out about my status after taking an HIV test when I was in prison. I knew I was risky because I’ve been with a lot of women, some guys too, and I didn’t always use condoms. So, I wasn’t completely surprised, but I still felt depressed when they told me I had HIV - I thought my life was over! I didn’t

want people to know I was HIV positive or think I had HIV, so I didn’t tell anyone, not even my family, and I refused to take HIV meds for a long time for fear that people would find out. Eventually, I got real sick though and was in so much pain with shingles straight down my spine that I had to start the meds to feel better. It wasn’t until I ended up in an Assisted Living Treatment program with others also living with HIV that I began openly talking about my HIV status. Feeling that support has been good and I no longer feel alone in this. It gave me the opportunity to practice sharing my status with my family - I’d wanted to tell them for a long time, but I anticipated they would treat me like an outcast when they found out.

So years and years later, I finally sat down with my sister and my girl and told them I was HIV positive. They were like, “Oh, we already know.”

I was like, “What?!” My sister said, “Do you think we’re stupid? We see you taking those pills you keep in the refrigerator.” I was relieved! And the whole time they

knew, they never made me feel any different; my family em-braces and loves me just as I am. It really helps to talk to someone about your HIV - otherwise, it’s like a massive boulder holding you down. A huge weight was lifted once I talked about my HIV status, and I’m proud of myself for taking this first step.

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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