HIV: My Journey

I am a 56-year-old gay man. I contracted HIV in 1984. I did not understand the difference between sex and love. Basically, I was very promiscuous, young, and naive. Back in those days, no one had sex with condoms. HIV had not yet been isolated or named. I had an acute seroconversion in 1986. Many of my sexual partners were getting very sick and dying within two months. I was terrified of getting tested and refused.

HIV/AIDS treatment in 1990

I was finally diagnosed in 1990. AZT treatment was a nightmare. The nausea was overwhelming. My first great love already had an AIDS diagnosis. I was his caregiver until his death two years later. I was diagnosed with AIDS in 1997. I had Pneumocystis Pneumonia for several months, Thrush, and rapid weight loss.

A 10 year journey

I was taken to the county hospital ER, given 18-24 hours to turn the corner with medication, or my family would be notified of my imminent death. The medication worked. I had 16 t-cells and a sky-high viral load. Medication, great care, and the love and support of my partner, family, and friends gave me a new purpose to return to good health. It took over 10 years to accomplish this goal.
Today, I am celebrating 25 years on borrowed time. My viral load has been undetectable for at least a decade.

Proud to be a long-term survivor

Daily HIV medication, a positive attitude, and living my life with purpose and the love of my partner, friends, and family sustain me. I am proud to be a long-term survivor of my illness. I control my virus. It does not control me.

I am very grateful for my life!

I hope this helps someone.

Interested in sharing your thoughts about living with HIV?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Have you ever been unhoused or insecurely housed?