My life was turned upside down in April of 2009, I was diagnosed as being HIV+. I knew nothing about the virus, except for the terrible stereotypes and misconceptions people told me. When the nurse told me my tests came back positive she was so nonchalant about it and told me I have nothing to worry about. I stared in disbelief at her, nothing to worry about! I was just diagnosed with something that kills people, how could I not worry. I was in a state of shock when I left the clinic and climbed into my car.
Reality did not set in for quite sometime even though the tears came right away. I had to fight through a copious amount of tears to even drive home, at times having to pull over because i just could not stop crying enough to see clearly. I was in a stunned silence for awhile and didn’t know how I would tell my family, or my loved ones, let alone the guy I was dating. I knew nothing about this virus, only that the people who had it were shunned by society and condemned to a life of loneliness. No one would want to be with me, let alone kiss me or hold me at night. I was terrified about what my future held and all I could think about then was how I could take my own life and not have to deal with the pain.
The pain only got worse when my boyfriend at the time attacked me and accused me of cheating on him. Going as far as to accuse me of ruining his life, all because his mother saw his test results which were negative. I slipped into such a deep depression, I cut myself off from people, I quit my job and hit behind a mask. I hid my results from many people, only trusting a few of my closest friends and family I lived with. I was terrified that the entire community would find out and shun me.
I wish I would have been more educated and not so naive on the subject of HIV/AID’s maybe then I would have understood my diagnosis better. Maybe then I would have not thought about suicide so often or attempted it so many times. It took me years before I was finally comfortable enough to be open about my diagnosis. When rumors started with in the gay community about me having AID’s and sleeping with people purposely to infect them. I fought back the only way I knew how by speaking the truth and confronting those who had nothing better to do with their time then attack me.
I took the wind from their sails when I starting going around and telling everyone about my status, I used social media to spread the word. I wanted to be as open as possible. I finally met a wonderful woman at a fashion show who introduced me to Nora Hanna the director of Until There’s A Cure. Telling my story to her and knowing she understood what I was going through even though she did not have it her self, made me feel so much better about myself. I was able to educate myself better and began to truly understand the virus and what it means to live with HIV in 2013.
HIV affects my immune system, it doesn’t disfigure me and turn me into a leper. I just have to stay on top of taking my medication and taking care of my body, all things we should be doing in the first place. It can not be transmitted through kissing someone, or drinking from the same drink as them let alone hugging them. You would be surprised at how many times people have made a huge deal out of sharing a drink with me. You can read more about HIV/AID’s by going to Until There’s A Cure’s website.
It has now been just over four and a half years since I was diagnosed and I am finally ready to help others. It’s been a journey I started back in January to be more open and to help encourage others to educate themselves on this virus. That journey has culminated with me partnering with couture designer V by Rob Bennett to design a beautiful high end button up that helps raise funds for Until There’s A Cure. We included a beautiful high end t-shirt made from custom fabric blends so you can help in finding a cure and helping educate, which will help save someone’s life.
After hearing my story I ask you to please take a look at the indiegogo campaign and help us reach our goal, show your support for a better future. Let other’s out there know that they don’t have to go through what I did by not being educated. I will have a long and beautiful life just like anyone else because of all the leaps and bounds we have made within the medical and science industry. I appreciate your support and love through this journey and I hope together we can change lives all while looking beautiful on the inside and out.