One thing I definitely have learned from Jaz, is we cannot control what love looks like or what package it comes in. I have also learned that her positive status doesn’t have to get in the way of us enjoying each other. There is so much I have learned about her journey into womanhood and I have been able to teach her the same about my path into my manhood. Before Jaz, I thought I knew what it was to be trans, but I have learned we all have much different journeys from person to person.
No more did I concentrate on men who only wanted me in the shadows and in the midnight hour. Luckie was teaching me that as a HIV+ trans woman of color I deserve to be love and treated with respect. We have been very successful with PrEP In our lives, it’s helped us maintain Luckie’s HIV- status. I hope by sharing our different love paths to each other, we can inform the community that love has no fear when it’s love leading the way.
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.
For the past five years, I’ve been known as the ‘HIV positive heterosexual male go-to-guy’, a seemingly non-existent, rare voice within the HIV community. That all changed a couple of weeks ago when I finally came to terms and acceptance with a very personal topic I’ve grappled with for quite some time, the realization of my bisexual identity.
We were gathered together and again, your Umi knows I am living with HIV. The ceremony was simple. We prayed, spoke affirmations for your life, and then I raised you up, and spoke your name Amenhotep Kazembe Ture Abif.
It was great to feel like I didn’t have to limit myself in certain ways when escorting, and it made me feel truly empowered to be taking the reins of my own destiny. I’ve been PrEPpy for over a year now, and, though stigma is still there, I still take it upon myself to talk about the benefits of taking PrEP while in the Sex Work field, and take the stigma out of both.
I asked him immediately if he was HIV negative, because otherwise I could always go to a hospital to get PEP [Post-Exposure Prophylaxis] before 72 hours passed. He reassured me that he tested negative five days ago, and I should not worry at all, because he always used condoms.
Every day is a survival struggle. Moving on, perhaps I am a bit forgetful, but my plate is full with trying to make ends meet.
After sharing my story at the conference, Lilieth and I became close friends. Prior to Lilieth and I being involved in a monogamous relationship, I wanted to know how difficult will it be to get on PrEP. I decided, what better way to educate the public about PrEP than to be on it myself?
I love who I am. I feel as though I have begun to feel out many deep canals of my intersectionality recently, and it has honestly excited me for the future of my love life and journey with self-care.
One day, a dude I liked did not have an ID and wanted to have sex. So I got the condom, went on the side of the building, gave dude the condom thinking he would respect my health and me. I turned my back because I seen the condom go on. But dude took the condom off.
My name is Christopher Holmes, and I’m a 34 year old Black gay man living with HIV. I’m from Atlanta, Georgia, and now reside in Bronx, NY. I have six brothers and one sister and they all have kids.
As a former sex worker, I know how it feels to be judged and be subjected to people’s opinions and unwanted advice.
The same year as my diagnosis was the same year I was accepted into law school. I am now a licensed attorney and as of writing this piece, have been with my partner (who is HIV negative) for the past 6 years. We are also the proud foster parents of our 18-month old daughter.
I was immediately attracted to the idea of taking PrEP as I am multi-partnered as well as a sex worker. I want to keep myself as healthy as possible, as well as protect all the people I interact with sexually.
I found PrEP to be beneficial for me because I had two sex partners and wanted to protect us all and improve my chances of remaining HIV negative. I am aware that PrEP doesn’t prevent other STIs or pregnancy, but I think using it is a good choice for me to prevent HIV.
I want a second chance with a new child of my own who I can raise and love throughout his whole life, living in the same city, and with lots of stability. I feel as though I’m in the right place, financially, mentally, and me and my girlfriend both love each other dearly.
My own fear and ignorance led me to believe that I wouldn’t be able to be able to have children and that I was unworthy of love. By educating myself about HIV, disclosing my status to trusted family members and friends and engaging with my community I learned the value of my own life.
Both moms of my kids identify as lesbians. I’m coparenting with my son’s mom, and I will be coparenting with my new baby’s mom, too.
That moment, that whole night really, wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t on PrEP, and it’s largely why I continue to be on it. #APIHAAD
When I found out she was pregnant, it was like a shot of dopamine surged through my blood and left me in a state of euphoria. I felt like I had finally caught a break in life, God had finally answered one of my prayers, to be a father…
Finding that special someone can be a complicated enough process without adding HIV into the picture. When I was diagnosed it seemed like an unfathomable possibility to find someone who would accept my status…
When I heard the words “You are HIV Positive,” in June of 2012, time itself seemed to have stopped. It was as if I was seeing my whole life flash before my eyes and I was a simple bystander on the sidelines left with no control of the situation but to watch.
The doctor hadn’t expected trans men to enroll, but when I showed up in her office arguing that I, too, was a high-risk gay guy who needed PrEP, she conceded that I was right.
Alejandra Cruz is an amazing fashion designer, hairdresser, & makeup artist who lives in San Francisco with her dog, Chichi. She is originally from Puerto Rico. She is a transgender woman living with HIV.