Tell us a summary of your story living with HIV/AIDS
I struggled a lot when I was diagnosed with HIV. I was diagnosed right as I was graduating from undergrad in May 2021. While I saw my friends and peers continue their education or begin their careers, I was paralyzed with shame. I began treatment and was able to reach an undetectable status, but I was still living in this state of death without actually dying – alive, but not really living. I couldn’t continue on alone, I needed to heal in community with other positive people.
I began my journey of connecting with local orgs who connected me with so many wonderful, positive advocates who were thriving. So many of these advocates would say that HIV helped them to find purpose in their lives, but I would say HIV helped me to find the people who make life worth living.
My story as a person living with HIV is still being written, and I hope I can support and encourage others to pick up their own pens.
What would it mean to you if we ended this HIV epidemic?
HIV isn’t just an epidemic of a virus, it’s an epidemic of deeply rooted stigma. To end HIV is not only to stop the spread of the virus, but to also liberate *everyone* positive or otherwise from stigma.
What does U=U mean to you? How has it impacted your life?
U=U is the wildest dream of the many for whom the science was too late. Everyday it’s my goal to live out that dream to the fullest. U=U means I don’t have to be afraid of falling in love.
How many years have you been undetectable?