When I found out I tested positive for HIV I was first unprepared to process what was going on in my body. Knowing since 93 it could lie dormant in my body and having lost my first sexual partner to AIDS, my name would be forever tainted by The AIDS Epidemic. When I didn't know for sure, I was sure it was better off that way.
Fast forward to receiving my positive status, I officially had to acknowledge in 2006. I was guided by the doctors and staff at my clinic and within a month I went to being undetectable and my T cells went from 52 to over 250.
I share this for good reason. Armed with some education on HIV I am now living.
OK, now to cope with living with this condition. I am now informed and involved in ending AIDS/HIV in my community and around the globe. My family of sisters; my best tool in my toolbox. Like people dealing with the same stigmas, discrimination, and outdated criminalization laws ,gender inequality and the list goes on for the reason, HIV lives in all communities.
I have to cope with the consequences of a bad decision that has now become a manageable chronic illness when I take my meds and stay adherent to times and doses... I choose unprotected sex sometimes with my same partner of 7 years. I know I carry the virus. Before U=U, I had unprotected sex with my then-partner and never transmitted HIV. Luckily I was introduced to meds before HIV progressed to AIDS.
I have been coping since my early twenties. What I always had a fear of was: am I going to make someone sick or die? I was so scared some days. I still am overwhelmed by the stigma and violence around taking care of ourselves.
I feel long term survivors guilt. I feel like I could have been responsible for taking others’ freedom of living without this condition.
A stripper and addict in my youth.
Does this ever get easier?
I pull the layers back only to find I have never coped with the consequences of my bad decision. With the laws outdated, haters, ex-friends with agendas, I've been unable to say this truth.
Living in my own prison is too much.
I never thought it would be this real.
I had to share, I can't go on feeling I could have caused so much damage to another person.
I don't know what I can say or not say?
I know I won't be a prisoner any longer.
Headed forward, leaving more in the past. Stay Beautiful and thank you for listening.
My rapist has more power than me, for this I have forgiveness. ♡