Alive To Tell. Survivor Through the Wreckage.

In 1981 I was 19 and very confused about my sexuality, no help from an extremely toxic childhood under a predator father and weak enabling mother. Given she was not mentally healthy to become a mother of four sisters, and me the youngest.

Diagnosed with HIV

In San Francisco I was drugged and raped by several men. I was infected with HIV-1. Gay men were dying from what was called Grids! Gay Retro Deficiency Syndrome. Catchy, huh? Stigma - I fought so hard to be here. I was on General Assistance and after I could no longer work from confusion and weakness and constant opportunistic infections. They had me taking extreme amounts of medications which I fought against.

Becoming an advocate

I entered medical studies for AIDS drugs. I put myself into mental health counseling when I left the slum room hotel I resided in for shelter. I spent my day advocating for others like me in states where there were less options through Project Inform. We mailed packets, newsletters containing hopeful new drugs, nutrition, protein powder, shake jugs to get the nutrients into patients, and we continually waited for Reagan to declare a national health emergency. Millions died waiting. I am 62 and I am about living now!

This serpentine natural stone heart washed up to my feet from the ocean.

Featured Forum

View all responses caret icon

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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.