a person with HIV wearing a paper bag over their head gets many fingers pointed at them and cringes

Why We Live in Shame

We live a life of shame because we allow others to make us feel bad about a condition that we live with. Is it the condition that we are ashamed of or are we ashamed of how another person sees us? This question has always been a thought of mine because, being a human being, we want to be liked by others and not judged: whether it’s how we dress, the way we wear our hair, or even the car we drive.

It seems to me that when we look for some kind of validation to make us feel good, and when we don’t get what we look for, it breaks us down into small pieces. Why are we ashamed of this condition and why do we let society make it feel like it’s something to be ashamed of?

Overcoming shame

What can we do to let someone who is diagnosed with HIV know that valuing, loving and embracing who they are is the greatest thing that they can give to themselves? That they are enough no matter what, that they are great no matter what, and that they are just as good as any other person. It’s not what others can give to you to make you feel whole or loved, but what you can give to yourself.

The person in the mirror is amazing

Have you ever been told as a child to get up, dust off, and keep going? Well, it’s the exact same thing you must do living with HIV, and not let what others see you as take hold of your life and change it. The person you see in the mirror that is looking back at you is so amazing.

What does undetectable mean?

People diagnosed with HIV are not infectious and we are not diseased! Did you know that as long as we stay on our medication and become virally suppressed, which means undetectable, then we can no longer transmit HIV to our sexual partner UequalsU (undetectable = untransmittable)? The CDC has also validated that a person living with HIV can no longer transmit.

U=U has given hope to many

The message of U=U has given so many people diagnosed with HIV hope, and it is letting us know that we can be in a relationship and love again without fear or guilt. We can have babies, a family: this is something that many of us never thought could happen.

Moving forward together

I want to share this message with everyone so they can have the same feeling. I want you to feel free. I want you to live and to know you don’t have to hide who you are. I want to lift every one of you up, encourage you, and inspire you to be happy.

Life is not guaranteed so please enjoy the time you have left and enjoy it, being the happiest you can be. Not everyone will become undetectable, but you must know that staying on your meds and in care will keep you healthy. It doesn’t make you less than because you can't reach undetectable.

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