With the pandemic and its impact, I have reflected upon the years since my
HIV diagnosis, as a bisexual man; which has had its own difficulties and uncertainties.
When I received the news of being positive, I felt guilt, anger, depression, and shame. I instantly questioned my choices and decisions leading
up to contracting HIV. The stigma that is ongoing in our culture, only further compounded these feelings.
Living with a chronic condition
I found it to be almost impossible to move beyond the little voice in my head that repeated the horrible comments many of us living with HIV and part of the LGBTQ community have to hear.
I understood, I must be kind and forgiving to myself, living with this chronic condition.
HIV is contracted, not developed like other chronic conditions.
HIV is contracted based on one’s decisions and actions, as are many chronic conditions; each with its own cause.
Comorbidities and HIV
I have HIV and anal herpes. Surprise ( an unpleasant additional add on so to speak) These chronic conditions helped me to find myself; in realizing my dignity, self-worth, and the purpose of life. I live, I play, and I am happy.
Are there moments when it hits me like “wow, I have HIV and anal herpes?”
Absolutely. Sometimes I am reminded taking my medication or the occasional outbreak. I never forget, but who doesn't?
Advances in HIV care
Like many of us, I have been truly fortunate to benefit from the advancements of HIV medication.
I live with the challenges that come with HIV; in regards to comorbidity. Being HIV positive for the last fifteen years, and as difficult as it may seem at times,
I am content and happy. My life is joyous and a blessing even with HIV; something that we must always keep in mind.
Written by James Cotromanes
Interested in sharing your thoughts about living with HIV?
Would you like to see articles on aging and HIV? (Select all that apply)