a woman with crossed legs hugs herself

What HIV Did To Me

I wasn’t the same. I was diagnosed in my late 20’s at 27 years old, at a time in my life when I should have been enjoying my 6-year-old daughter and happy that my abusive relationship finally ended.

I was young, cocky, and I was looking forward to the future. But when I got the test results stating that I was HIV positive, it did something to me.

I stopped caring after my HIV diagnosis

It made me forget the future and what could have been; so, I look at it like my life was being put on hold. I say that because I really didn’t know that I would be living 22 years later.

I gave up on any thoughts that entered my mind about going to college, thoughts of joining the military, and thoughts of what things would look like 5 years down the road. I never had any other thoughts on my mind and that was because I knew I’d be gone soon: I just didn’t know when.

I allowed HIV to ruin me and turn me into a Black woman who didn’t care about life anymore. I started to feel sorry for myself; it felt like I crawled up in a ball and stayed that way for 12 years without even realizing it. I entered into a marriage 2 years after my positive result that I knew was no good from the beginning.

Numb to the horrible ways I was treated

I was kicked, called names and was told that I would soon have AIDS and then die. I used to act like these things didn’t hurt so I became numb to the way that I was being treated. What happened to me and how did I get here to this point in my life? After years of unhappiness, the marriage ended and that’s when I said something must change. And in order to figure that out, I decided to stay alone.

Deciding to start over

After my divorce, I knew that I could be happy again. But I also knew that staying with myself and learning who I was all over will be a process that I was willing to work at. Being alone with just me, reading and evaluating what I knew I didn’t want, and learning what I deserved really helped me see that I had to love me.

Seeing a better life

I feel telling you parts of what I have been through over the last 22 years will let you see that my journey has not been an easy one at all, but to also let you see that being diagnosed with the virus doesn’t only affect you. There are many people who go through changes when living with HIV, but you must always remember that you did not ask for this and it is not your fault. I want to help you to see that and also help you to see that the power of thinking can allow us to get through everything and change our lives for the better.

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