Submitted on Oct 1, 2019 by  Destiny Smith

It's hard to explain how my feelings are towards having HIV. I try not to think about it in a negative way and yes, plenty of people say it's not a death sentence like people try to make it seem. But people also have to understand it is a life changing situation. A lot changes, especially if you are being open about your status and letting people know. Yes, that is the right thing to do; let any potential partner know because it should be their choice if they want to deal with the situation or not.

Also just because you are positive doesn't mean you have to announce it to the world. I did it of my own free will because no, I wasn't hiding it, but I also wasn't telling everyone, and it was just a big weight on my shoulders. Especially when rumors were going around that I had AIDS, which wasn't true because HIV and AIDS are different things. Difference being in numbers of your blood cell count and your viral load. I just had to clear the air so I did and when I made my announcement on Facebook, it's like the weight was gone. Me and my mom had a conversation and she couldn't have said it any better. She said me telling the world stopped the devil in his tracks because now no one can use me having HIV against me. What can they say? Who can they tell that I haven't?

I'm not ashamed of my situation because God put this exact situation in play for a reason, whether that be me just helping one person understand that it's so much more to life. Start by loving yourself enough that if you are going to have sex do it safely. I know we can get caught up when it comes to sex - I mean, we are human. But me being young and dumb trying to live my young life doing whatever is what put me into this position. I can only tell my story, so hopefully my story is enough to help people understand - especially people around my age. Because as young people, we do live life so carefree because we are young and only have one life to live. But we definitely need to cherish life a lot more because one little thing could change your life for a lifetime. Literally me wanting no more than 30 minutes of pleasure completely turned my life around in a blink of an eye.

Submitted by tj30trust

Thank you so much for speaking your truth. In times like these, you must remember the strength it took to first talk about your status yourself. You have the ability to take back your power in situations like this. I know what it's like to have your status disclosed or be the topic of conversation. I just embraced the good that I was doing as HIV lives with me. No one can take away the impact that you have left on others by living in your truth. You are more powerful than you know. And sometimes, it is a good thing to leave someone looking stupid as they battle their own insecurities.

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