This is why I force myself to take my meds every day, to hang on to still be here for my kids. They may be adults now, but they still have a place in their lives where I fit in.
I arrived at the clinic with my two youngest children. Sitting in the waiting area everything appeared to move in slow motion. A barrage of thoughts swirled through my head. My nerves were all over the place. Finally I heard my name called. I immediately snapped back into reality. The walk down the hallway to the office room was as though I was walking to death’s chair. The nurse walked in and said Ms.Thomas, “I’m not going to beat around the bush. Your HIV test came back positive.” In that moment, my heart dropped in my stomach. I felt numb all over. Her words were final.
The more we talk about it, uplift each other, educate and support one another, the closer we get to ending the virus! No one should have to suffer in silence. If I could talk to anyone dealing with a similar situation, I would want them to know, ?You are not alone, we can battle this together.?
I have learned so much about my body and what it means to me to be able to protect it. I have learned what it is to exercise my right, and that of other women, to be on PrEP.
I’m not stopping pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) because my skin turned blue. That was an embarrassing mistake I made in the first few days of trying it. Don’t tell anyone, though, or they’ll find out that I’m the kind of guy who buys a black flannel shirt and wears it for a few days without washing it, not realizing it’s going to seep dye onto exposed areas, causing me to make panicky calls to bemused, sympathetic friends and globally noted HIV researchers alike.
Through sharing my story, I want to reduce the stigma in our lives and show others that there is truly life after HIV diagnosis. I also want to teach others how to advocate for themselves when it comes to protection, stigma, and healthcare.