My HIV Story: I Ended My Relationship With My True Love
I became HIV-positive at the age of 20, by sleeping with a man whom I trusted enough to not wear a condom. He had HIV, knew, and did not tell me. Not only did he infect me, but he also infected several other people I know. I did not find this out until after getting tested. In the beginning, it made me so upset that I truly wanted to kill myself. I felt disgusting and I could not believe that I had contracted HIV. It made me feel like no one would want to date me or even talk to me again. Growing up, I always felt that HIV was the deadliest and worst STD you contract.
It was ingrained in my mind that if I contracted HIV, I was one of the “bad gays” or a stereotypical gay person that all straight people think as, “Oh you’re gay; you must have HIV.” All of this went through my head when I first contracted HIV. There was a moment when I almost drove my car off the road so I wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore. I ended my relationship with someone I thought was my true love because I didn’t want to pass HIV to him. I pushed him so far away that I burned all bridges because I felt it was the right thing to do to protect him.
Since then, I have grown to realize that having HIV is not a death sentence. I have to be careful when having sex with others, and I always tell whoever I am dating that I am HIV positive, so they are aware of what they are getting into. I’ve found that I can still live a normal life and do the things I wanted to do, even though I am positive. I’ve found that volunteering to help other HIV positive people like me, and those who are unable to afford their medication, to be quite rewarding. It is eye-opening to speak with others about how their lives been affected by HIV and to compare their stories to my own. I spoke with an older gentleman who had it way worse than I did when he first contracted HIV, and it was such an eye-opener to the fact that I haven’t had it nearly as bad as he did.
We live a normal life, just like they do.
I still worry about how my life will be in the future with HIV. I worried for a long time if I would still be able to become a nurse with HIV because I did not want to infect my patients. I have found since starting the nursing program that I have nothing to worry about because, as long as I protect myself, I will, in turn, protect my patients as well.
One thing I wish people who are not HIV positive knew is the fact that we are not all sex addicted, nor contagious at the touch. We live a normal life, just like they do. There have been times that people have run away from me when I’ve told them I have HIV; they freak out like have the plague. I think that people need to become more educated on HIV and other topics they are not informed on. Sharing food, cuddling, hugging, kissing, or simply sitting next to someone with HIV is not going to give you HIV. Yes, that are things that need to be kept separate; toothbrushes, razors, etc. But, people need to know that you can’t contract HIV simply by being friends with someone who is positive. Everyone needs a friend and someone who has recently been diagnosed HIV positive needs one more than any other time in their life.