Why I Went Public
My partner asked me a question the other day, and it made my mind start to re-process why I came out publicly about my status. We were making dinner together, and out of nowhere, he said, "Babe... Why did you decide to tell the world about your status?" It made me slightly nervous because we had talked about my status many times before but never to why I so quickly came out as HIV-positive.
Before I answered his question, I first decided to ask him why out of nowhere. He asked me this question after months of dating me. He expressed to me that my status came up in a conversation with one of his friends. He explained that one of his close friends had seen me in a magazine and read the article about my status.
Questions are not unusual
At first, it made me feel uncomfortable about them discussing my status, but then I processed it and realized that it is not unusual for people to have questions.
People are going to have questions, especially with how open I was about it. His friend is a heterosexual male, and before learning that I was HIV-positive, he had never really known much about HIV. My partner continued to express that his friend wanted to ensure I was healthy and taking care of myself. His friend saw how much he cared for me and wanted to know that I would live a long and healthy life.
I slowly listened to my partner talk and heard him express to me all the facts about HIV that he told his friend. It was nice to hear the same conversation I had with my partner just a few months ago being retold in his own words to his close friend.
Openly positive, positively open
Before getting together, my partner and I had a major discussion about HIV regarding both facts and community myths. My partner never dated anyone that was openly positive, so he had many questions to which he wanted the answer.
I had never felt more heard in my life than when I had this discussion with him. I have told many people about my status, but he really wanted to know about my journey and struggles around my diagnosis.
Open with my HIV status
I told my partner that I came out publicly to be a staple within my community. I wanted to become someone that people could lean on and trust. I wanted to become someone people could look to for advice on how to start medication or how to accept one's diagnosis.
I took the time to thank my partner for how loving and accepting he was of my status. I explained that people might address him regarding my HIV status, and I wanted him to feel comfortable enough to explain what HIV is and express how confident I am in myself and the work that I do.
Do you wear a red ribbon on World AIDS Day?