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.
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.
I’m in a position in life right now where I’m living poor. At the moment, my lights are off, I have no way to get back and forth to the doctor, I haven’t been on meds since I gave birth to my daughter in march 2016, and it’s hard to find work where I live.
Then the truth set me free. Learning about Undetectable equals Un-transmittable ( U=U ), and PrEP gave me a new light in life. I set out to make sure I achieved and maintained undetectable levels to prevent the spread of HIV and inform my partners about PrEP. I have come to understand that my future child will not face the same stigma and side effects in their life. This hope has inspired me to think about what family I want to have.
“I had a fear of being alone…The stigma was huge. I had more internal stigma than external stigma…I stayed out of relationships because I didn’t want to disclose.”