Hello! It’s me, Angel S...

I have been reading my 500/501 course material (Basics of HIV/AIDS counseling, testing, and linkage course) and I can’t help but want to share about the transformation happening in my life. I am getting brave and firm in my stand against wrongful treatment of people living with HIV. 

I can find issues that pertain to me as a person living HIV positive which seem to have me question myself, my standards, my worth and my life each and every day and several different times, locations and in different groups of people. 

Why is it people not living with HIV can spew profanities and think it is OK; I cannot.  Nor would I call your child slow or your mother sickly because they may have a disability or illness.

Watching my young daughter grow up in her first year with a cast, a clear disability, she was walking with that cast at a mere six months. Disabilities do not always have to stop a person. Through trial and error, you begin to adapt. 

Adapting to my status. That is the transformation I am talking about. 

I am growing into my spirit, my values, my wings. I am seeing I can give my power to others through my ignorance or lack of voice. I can take my power back by my own acceptance and education of MY situation. I am finally after what seems like an eon working on a career (yeah, back to work).

I am sharing my story and all I learn with whoever is interested (asking me, of course). When HIV comes up, good or bad, I will say what I know as a fact. I don't need to defend my status. I need to take my meds and stay up to date on things.

Why do you want to say hurtful things, start rumors or laugh at someone? Society is hard enough with the influence of outer beauty.  What happened to the thinking part of a person? The compassionate part of humans loving one another? I don't love people more or less if they are suffering from cancer, lupus, addiction, gonorrhea, so why, especially if I am not sexually involved with you, do you or others need to discuss my status in a derogatory way? I ask because I don't understand how Stigma survives powered only by others doing unjust, wrong, traumatizing behaviors and attaching them to a diagnosis.

That's what HIV is to me. Today I live with a diagnosis of HIV and Lupus. I beat Cancer and currently I am learning to live through and beyond addiction. I have experienced such violent trauma and rape only to still have a heart to share and love to give. I am just another girl with a love for others. I would hope in my life to stop another from experiencing the path to (their own) adaptability that I choose to take.

I am now taking a different approach and a closer look at what I want. How do I help stop the Stigma and make receiving the news of a positive test result a little easier for the one hearing it for the first time? 

Life has been a lot harder than I expected it would be after the news. However the things I have been through I would have experienced anyway. I am HIV positive and that has added to the pain and terror I have experienced and I don't see why we as Humans need to go through this. I am going to continue to experience life and not hide any part of me. I laugh, I cry. I get mad, I get sad. I am grateful. All the same emotions and feelings others without HIV have. I am not that different today as I was before the diagnosis, I just listened to the choir and they were wrong. I am going forward adapting to my status as I would have - and have - with any other diagnosis. 

Together we can learn and lean on each other when it gets tough. I send my love and hope to each woman who is in a state of shock or confusion. You are still you! Embrace you; of course in your own time.



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