The Conversation – “Unapologetically Heterosexual”
This is a conversation between a husband and wife.
Robert: We are the Wards. We were married in July of 1991 and will celebrate 31 years of marriage on July 30, 2022. We have 3 children who have stood by us so firmly, with their love and support; it has brought us to tears on many occasions.
Jerilyn: We have lived with HIV for 22 years as of February 2022. This classifies us as long-term survivors. We would also like to add an additional description to our story; we are LONG-TERM lovers with HIV.
Robert: Our story is not uncommon, but it is a story that does not take center stage in the quest for awareness in the HIV community. Jerilyn and I are on a quest to be a voice to change that narrative. The quest is a mission to spread our testimony of a couple staying together despite our HIV status.
Jerilyn: It was February of 2001 when we received the diagnosis, and this began our 22-year journey. In 2003 Robert hit rock bottom when our marriage union faced its greatest challenge to remain intact.
Robert: Jerilyn and I had to learn to close out the outside world and decide to be lovers and supporters of one another. In an effort to include family and friends in our life and inform them of our status, negativity entered like a flood. This negativity was working to erode our marriage along with our own struggles to deal with our status. We decided to stay together no matter what!
Jerilyn: Today we stand firm in our commitment to one another by the strength of our faith in God. It is our mission to pave the way for other heterosexual couples to have a voice and to raise awareness for those living with HIV and STOPPING the spread of this virus.
Robert/Jerilyn: And, as to those who walk this walk with us and those who are new. We’re here to tell you that your life is not over, you can live. Life is so worth living!
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