Twenty years ago today, my Marine Corps commanding officer read my HIV-positive diagnosis to me from a script
. It was the day after my 22nd birthday. It was the worst day of my life.
Only 9/11 comes close
, but obviously the horror of that day wasn't mine alone.
The closer this day has gotten, the more I've dreaded it. Now that
it's here, I realize my fear was unwarranted. Instead of feeling sorry
for myself, as I expected to feel, I am reinvigorated. Being a long-term
survivor is both a privilege and a badge of honor.
said, these 20 years haven't been easy. I gladly admit that I have had a
better road than most living with HIV, but I haven't been immune. I
know too well the health scares, the stigma, the discrimination, the
rejection, the fear of dying too soon. It takes its toll.
is why I was so relieved to feel relieved today. Even after all HIV has
thrown at me, I'm still here. And I intend to live long enough to kill
it before it kills me. I haven't come this far to settle for anything
less than being cured of HIV.