The Struggle is Real
I struggle with suicidal ideation severely so when I was diagnosed I struggled hard with even wanting to treat it. I thought, ok, here's the answer, just let nature take its course.
Attending a support group
Thankfully I was somewhere I could attend a group of people who were Poz. I was already fairly educated on it as my ex was poz but is not whom infected me. I am also originally from a state where someone went to prison for infecting others knowing their status, untreated and having unprotected sex.
I am old enough to remember seeing older gay influences be discriminated against with the acronym for Gay being Got Aids Yet. I watched people go through exactly what they depict in the series Pose. I have survived multiple rapes. Which is why unfortunately I don't know whom infected me. But I didn't want to live with myself being as young as I was (35) when I was diagnosed and be sexually active and not treating it properly. It's not fair to them.
Know your resources
I watched friends struggle with getting their meds cause of insurance issues and I have always been someone that says Know Your Resources... So the first thing I did was find a doctor I felt comfortable with. Getting HIV got me the best doctor I have ever had. The 2nd thing I did when he asked, no, suggested, asked, cause he took the time to listen to my mental health struggles with PTSD, chronic depression, suicidal ideation... the list goes on but he asked how I wanted to proceed.
I asked to participate in a study
The 2nd action I took was asking for an HIV med research study. I didn't want to jump right into treatment without securing proper and credible and sustainable insurance and then go through the struggle of getting meds as had watched friends deal with. I didn't ask for the most lucrative... I asked for the absolute longest study there was to Guarantee that I would get my meds. It lasted years and gave me the best amount of time to actually get a feel of my life and the proper context of my absolute ability to work through any struggles I would, not might, I would face knowing the instability my mental health struggles are prone to and to get to the best outcome possible for my ability to adhere as best as I was ever going to be able to any given day.
Bonus: if you are in a research study that is double-blind and may have to face something from your past that could result in possible jail time... Jail and prison will absolutely NOT let you have unidentified/unmarked medication. I don't need to elaborate but I had to face up to something that I brought on myself but was for the right reasons that caught up with me over a decade later when I happen to be in my research study. I fired my lawyer cause they were ignorant and told the judge I'm on medication I NEED and could die without and will not be allowed to have if incarcerated. I didn't spend a day in jail.
I served my penance, but knowledge is power. And your status is the one test question you should Always know the answer to!
Interested in sharing your thoughts about living with HIV?
How often do you explain U=U to others?