Tell us a summary of your story living with HIV/AIDS

I contracted HIV at the young age of 18 from my very first boyfriend who did not disclose his status. The health department pulled up to my mother’s house and knocked at the door and told me I needed to be tested. They performed the test in my mother’s living room and it was confirmed I was positive. They just left, with no further instructions.

I was numb for years, using alcohol as a means to cope. I allowed emotionally and physically abusive relationships in my life to avoid thinking about the shame and pain. Anything really, not to feel.

Eventually, I found community and released the shame by pouring into my community thru the vehicle that is now BU Wellness. I know that without community organizations, I don’t know where I would be today.

What would it mean to you if we ended this HIV epidemic?

Ending the epidemic to me would mean that others after me would not have to live with the guilt and shame I felt. One of favorite quotes is from Helen Keller:

“Never bend your head, hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye!

Helen Keller

If the epidemic is ended, there would be so many more heads held high!

How many years have you been undetectable?

8 years

#CelebrateUU #UU8 #UequalsU

Johnny J. #UU8

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