My HIV Story: I Thought HIV Was A Gay Disease
*The following narrative is from one of our HIV-positive scholarship applicants. It has been minimally changed for grammar and to remove any identifying information.*
Being HIV positive for the last three years has been very challenging. From finding out my diagnosis, to accepting it, to learning to live a totally different lifestyle. Life has really been a rollercoaster, but this by far is something that has been more of a tornado that has rearranged my life. With all I have been through, I do not wish this on anyone. This disease has controlled and killed many. Staying positive, continuing to live a positive lifestyle, and educating others on preventing HIV is the best way of coping with this.
HIV was never something that I thought would happen to me because I was a straight guy, and I thought HIV was a “gay disease.”
For many years, I was the one who took chances. I loved the fast life. Money and women were my obsessions. I lived a life doing many things I am not proud of. To say I was ever faithful or a monogamist would be a lie. My fast lifestyle was a big cause of my HIV contraction. I can not tell you of a specific time, person, or moment when it occurred. However, I can say using protection was not a priority. HIV was never something that I thought would happen to me because I was a straight guy, and I thought HIV was a “gay disease.” This is far from the truth, and I am a good example of that.
HIV has made me a person who is more responsible, careful, and open-minded. I take responsibility when it comes to my sexual health, and protect myself from letting my viral load become high or getting another STD. I am more careful with my health and careful not to infect anyone else. But most importantly, being HIV-positive has allowed me to be more open-minded and aware of how much one’s action can affect your whole life for the better or for the worse. HIV changes your view on life and forces you to reevaluate the decisions you make.
I wish that those living without HIV would understand that they always have a choice, that they are human, and that life is not to be taken for granted. They can choose to make wise decisions or be left with ones that will affect their whole lives. You can choose to use protection that will prevent HIV and any other STD. You are human, and no one is immune to HIV. Lastly, your life is precious so take care of it. Having to depend on a pill, getting your blood drawn all the time, and being prone to diseases is not a life you want. Do not take your life for granted, because you only have one.
My life’s challenges have made me reevaluate my life, given me purpose, and forced me to make changes. I am in school to obtain a degree in Human Services in order to help others. I have a purpose to live for my family, and especially for my wife who I am dedicated to. Finally, HIV has taught me that if I don’t make changes for the better, then a short life is all I can expect. My choices determine my life.
Know of any HIV-positive students? Let them know about the scholarship we offer to HIV-Positive students!