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Life after diagnosis


I just wanted to take the time to clear my mind and share my story. I am 29 years old and in October 2002, I received the most devastating news of my life. I had to have a physical and some tests were run. I was told that most of my tests came back fine. However, there was one that we needed to discuss. I was told that my HIV test came back positive. I just started screaming and shaking uncontrollably. It was as if I was standing outside of my body and listening to the health Nurse tell someone else. I was devastated. I was a college student and was serving in the United States Army. I didn't know where to turn and had even attempted suicide. Fortunately or unfortunately (I'm still not sure which), I was unsuccessful. After attempting to keep my condition a secret for nearly four months, the military and my mother found out. My mother wrapped her arms around me and told me that I would be ok and that we would get through this together. My command has been very supportive and at this point, I have not been forced out. I just kept thinking that I'm not supposed to be the face of HIV. I'm educated and a soldier. Although every day is a struggle and I find myself crying in my sleep, I am determined to turn being positive into something positive. I have finished my Bachelor's and Master's degrees and will be pursuing my PhD. There is life after the diagnosis! I have started writing a book detailing my struggle with this horrible disease. I am taking time to gather my own thoughts and putting them on paper so that I may help another. If I give guidance and hope to one individual, then my life is justified. I am choosing to have a voice. I am going to begin speaking for those men, women, and children that have no voice or are afraid to confront their surroundings. I am choosing to use my voice to solicit understanding and compassion. I choose to speak for a quilt that is large enough to cover the nation's capital yet too small to warm the hearts of mankind. Everything in life happens for a reason and my purpose will be revealed. I will carry on! Keep your head up and your hope alive. There will be a cure!

 

Sent via Email - April 1, 2003

Update, December 2007............................

It has been five years since my original posting and as I stated, I have finished my Bachelor's and Master's degrees. I have achieved success in my life and have received much love and support from those around me. I strive to become an advocate and make my voice count and will do that when I feel that the time is right. I first have to ensure that I have grasped what has happened to me and what it takes to fight this virus. At this time, I have never taken HIV drugs and have seemed to somehow keep the virus under control. I live everyday believing that unless there is a cure HIV will eventually take my breath but I refuse to let it take my life! Five years later, I still believe that there is life after the diagnosis.

 
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