My point in writing this is that we all will face adversity as we age, and we all suffer setbacks in our lives. Health is one we often take for granted. For the care providers, my art and organizations that embraced me as someone in a totally new environment, I am eternally grateful.
For everyone who reads my story and offers comfort and understanding, I am truly blessed. I have a small support group of friends who helped and continue to help me navigate and go on. The biggest way to get involved and fight against HIV is to rally our lives together for the continuation of living so that HIV positive people are still a part of society. Our dreams and passions of having a wonderful life with a fulfilling job, a loving companion, friends and family are no different from before our HIV diagnosis.
Thank God we are told now to begin medication and treat this illness immediately. There is a very good strong network of ART in every city or town of India and lots of NGOs are doing a perfect job in helping, educating and treating the people. Kindness, compassion, understanding and acceptance; may we all poz people of India and the world live to embody the spirit with which they are intended for the very survival of our souls.
Currently, I write and am very involved with my surrounding areas to educate the public and others on HIV. To speak for those who can’t. To help the community understand the face that people labels HIV with is not true. This is not a gay man’s disease or disease not to talk about. It can infect anyone. I met people who supported me until we were no longer together and then they would spread my HIV positive status like wildfire. I met people who would accept me in private and disown me in public. I made the horrific mistake of falling in love with one of those individuals.
Now I am advocating for people living with HIV and hoping to help others like me see that it is OK to date. It’s safe to date. Even when I wanted to lie about my status, I knew the only way to be with someone was to give that person the option of being with me by disclosing my status. I knew that in order to be in a healthy sexual relationship with someone, that person would first need to know my status and be able to make their own choice to love and have sexual relations with me.
My hope is to get negative individuals to understand that HIV is no longer a death sentence and people with this disease must be accepted. You may choose not to date HIV positive person but that does not mean you should spread hatred and ignorance about the disease. Ignorance and hatred are what keeps people like me quiet and in denial, which keeps the virus and disease infecting new individuals.HIV does not discriminate.
I did not let HIV get the best of me. I moved forward. It did take time, but 7 years later I am strong. Yes, I am alive and HIV positive, living with AIDS, but I’m still here. To anyone who reads this, if you’re not HIV positive, please get tested regularly and always use protection. Don’t let this disease control you. You can control HIV because you can still live a normal life despite the virus.