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Stories Of Promise - I Chose to Love Myself

Stories Of Promise

My name is Anthony, I am a heterosexual, white male and I am living with HIV. I’ve lived a life filled with hard choices, many of them wrong.

I left home when I was just 8 years old. I either slept on friend’s couches or on the street. Not long after, I began sleeping with prostitutes. I was homeless, a thief, a liar and just a bad guy. In 1984 I left my hometown of Massachusetts for Florida because I had destroyed relationships with everyone I knew. I was screaming for help from the inside, but not in a way that anyone would hear. It was during one of my stints in the Department of Corrections that I tested positive for HIV. The days of unprotected sex with prostitutes finally caught up with me. Soon after that, due to HIV related thrush and rashes, I began to look as horrible on the outside as I felt on the inside. I tried to hide it: I wore long-sleeved shirts in the blazing Florida heat, and was embarrassed to tell people about my HIV status. I rarely went to doctors, and never took any HIV medication. I hated myself so much, I couldn’t imagine anyone else wanting to help me or care for me.

So what changed? After going back to the Department of Corrections, I realized that I needed to take care of my health or else I was going to die. And I was not ready to die. I decided that I was going to do something to change. I was determined to work out, come out fresh, and start my life over again. When I was released, I went to live in an outpatient facility where I learned that I deserved a better life. I began caring for myself in ways that I had never done before and developed the confidence to make the right choices. I finally mattered to others, but most importantly, I mattered to myself. I got help, I had a case manager, and I started seeing doctors.

My goal was to finally get on antiretroviral medication to get my HIV under control. Currently, my HIV is undetectable because I take my medicine. I keep it in a special spot in the refrigerator door. I take a shower, eat something, and then take my medication at the same time every day. It sounds simple, but I am taking care of myself for the first time in my life and I am alive today because I chose to love myself.

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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