Tell me part of your story of living with HIV?

I became infected when it was a death sentence in the late 80’s. I went through the whole stigma of: no insurance, owning a business, married, 2 children and deciding how I was going to live. 

My doctor told me not to take AZT. I had to get insurance and I couldn’t let anybody know I was positive. So I sold my business. I went to work for a hotel because I didn’t have to take a physical examination. They gave me health insurance. They gave me life insurance. So I was set for five years. 

No one knew about it until — my doctor told me this would happen — I would come down with something that my immune system couldn’t handle. I did. I was within three hours of dying. The gay newspaper ‘The Mirror’ already had my obituary written. By best friend Ed was planning my services. I said, “Bitch!”  

I’m a survivor.

Dr. Black from infectious disease at Methodist became my doctor. He cured my pneumocystis pneumonia. Then he looked at me and said, “now we’re going to take care of your AIDS. You’re lucky.” The cocktail had just came out and the cocktail saved my life. 

After that, I got divorced. The hardest part was telling my kids, but they said “Dad, we already knew something was going on.”

I’m a survivor.

I’m now fighting cancer and will fight it till I’m cancer free.

I’m a survivor.

What would ending the HIV Epidemic mean to you?

I hate to say it, but it’s never going to end. It’s going to be like cancer. It’s going to be a curable disease for some people, and some people will just still die from it.

What does U=U mean to you? How does it affect your life?

It’s impacted my life completely. It was the greatest feeling when I found out. 

It’s a calming feeling that you’re undetectable and untransmittable. Before you are always on the edge…what happens if the condom breaks? Now, there is calm.

How long have you been undetectable?

At least 10

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