This Story Won't Win Me Any Popularity Contests, But It's Important That I Share It
The time has come for me to bear my burden with purpose and to use my experience to educate those who stand where I stood. This is a start.
I've never felt more ashamed of myself.
HIV stigma and education
Last June, I met someone over an online dating app. This wasn't my usual song and dance, as I was never so into the dating scene in the first place. Until then, I always met partners in an organic face-to-face setting. This instance was unique but I was interested in meeting this person in real life as I felt we clicked, and I was drawn to them. Before we were to meet, they sent the message: "I want to get this out of the way and tell you now, I'm HIV positive. It's undetectable though." I remember thinking that this must be some kind of scam or a blatant lie.
What does undetectable mean?
What does "undetectable" even mean? I asked myself. The only thing is, I didn't take the time to do the research or to even ask this person to educate me. After all of our conversations and time learning about one another, I blocked them instantly. I felt lied to. In retrospect, I can only imagine how this made them feel since they were opening up to me. I had no clue undetectable means untransmissible.
Maybe it's a good time to mention that I'm a firm believer in karma as an underlying principle of divine purpose.
Fast forward a couple of months from the dating app scenario, my birthday passed just a few days prior.
Summer was almost at an end. I had never felt more independent or prepared to explore life's possibilities. I went into my local clinic for my regular STI/STD testing, where I discovered that I myself am now HIV positive.
Interested in sharing your own diagnosis story, treatment experience, or another aspect of living with HIV?
Do you wear a red ribbon on World AIDS Day?