Almost 40 Years and Still Here

Interested in sharing your thoughts about living with HIV?

Came out in my early 20's in San Luis Obispo, California.

A brief encounter

Very difficult. Mom passed, dropped out of Cal Poly, and mentally unstable with no parents and no job skills.
There was a gay bar there which prompted me to want to be in a large city with other people like me. The Journeyman's Inn.
Met a man in a gay bar in Santa Barbara who actually grew up on my street. We never met even though we were a block apart.
He was abusive, I could not connect with him with still having huge emotional issues dropping out of college, losing my mom, and coming out of the closet. He broke up the brief encounter reflecting that was only what is was back then.
He was an actor in Santa Barbara. Think he may have been the one who infected me. I found out years ago he passed of AIDS about 5 years after I left. I saw his name and picture on the Interactive AIDS Quilt.
Just cried my eyes out.Only 30 years old. Dan Hiatt was his name.

HIV diagnosis

I escaped and made a four-year life for myself In Long Beach.
I was diagnosed in Long Beach in the early 1980's.
It was one of the most traumatic things that happened in my life with a quick test, nobody to talk to, and a death sentence when I got the results.
I told a coworker at a hotel I worked at and word got around that I was infected. I was treated like scum, called a fag to my face, and had a coworker start screaming when I brought her leftover food from a guest. She thought the food was covered with AIDS.
I lived in my car in a parking lot in front of a gay bar called Ripples.

Traumatic experiences

A male porn star found me in my car and we ended up being roommates after I got a job at an AM -PM Gas station in Belmont Shore. It was traumatic living with someone who was so different than me.
I ended up meeting an older man at a bar called The Silver Fox and moved in with him for a short time. Left within a few months when I realized I was only with him for emotional support.
I has several apartments on my own or with roommates.
I virtually lived for the bars with MTV coming out and Dynasty which was huge in gay bars back then.
Many ,many sexual encounters. Cruised, hung out at bars. Drove to the Rage in West Hollywood. Many other bars in Orange County and
near Disneyland.
Got out of Long Beach after being a doorman for four years standing outside a hotel watching my life pass by.
Moved to Las Vegas on my own with little belongings.
Had a real hard time there. Could not get a job, got arrested for buying drugs, lost all my belongings.
Met a man in Vegas who moved me to Chicago.

The pill saved my life

Went to college, became a teacher for 12 years and made a half million in real estate. 62 now and still traumatized from my past.
The pill saved my life when I acquired full blown AIDS in the 90's.
What a hard life.

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.