Talking About Living With HIV
This is a condition that has always been intolerable and has been this way for over 35 years. I feel it’s difficult because we make it that way; meaning, nothing in life is easy but it’s how we deal with it that gives us the outcome.
I didn’t wake up one day and say, "Please let me be diagnosed with a virus that makes people want to stay away from me", and neither did you. And it’s not easy coming to grips that you will live with it for the rest of your life. So you can either feel sorry for yourself, stay angry, or do your best to be happy like anyone else who is not living with it.
Be truthful to yourself
For me, I say to be happy, I must first be honest with myself about my HIV; and, that’s saying I am a beautiful woman living with HIV and it doesn’t change the person I am. You must remember that you are not a different person at all. You are the same son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother, and friend that you have always been.
Don’t you realize that there is no one who was ever happy keeping a secret from anyone or themselves? You can’t live to your full potential keeping things internally and I know each and every one of you are capable of becoming honest to yourselves about your status. You wouldn’t believe the load that is taken off of you because of it. Once you start to deal with it, then it will become easier to talk to others about it and not feel ashamed.
Share your HIV status with someone you trust
If you could trust one person who would that be? I ask you that because opening up to someone will help clear your mind and put you at ease. Being open with my status has led me to meet some amazing individuals who accept me for who I am. Getting out of your comfort zone and sharing with others will help you build relationships with people who love you, care for you, and who will be there for you.
Keep company with people who accept you
Never keep company with people who don’t accept you; that will only cause stress and negativity in your life. I have accepted that if close family and friends don’t want me around, then I’m fine with that because I am not living my life for them. So I’m asking you to live your life for you. When you do that, that’s when you will know that you have accepted your diagnosis and you will stop caring how others see you. Then you will feel the need to start dating again without feeling like it can’t happen.
For more information disclosing or sharing your HIV status, check out The Well Project: Disclosure and HIV.
Have you ever experienced discrimination due to your HIV status?