19 Sep 2013

Speak Out : Dre’s HIV Story

Category: Speak Out
 Hi there. I recently read a post on the a4a blog entitled “HIV STATUS DISCLOSURE-2″ after reading the post from a4a member Demetre I felt compelled to share mine because our stories are similar and I feel this is a great way to reach out to someone in the hopes of helping them out in some way.

My name is Dre’ and I was diagnosed with HIV 2 days after my birthday. On July 28th 2013(the day of my birthday) I attempted suicide. I mutilated my arm, drank some alcohol and took 23 sleeping pills. I was out of my mind for hours before my cousin called 911. I was rushed to the hospital still out of it and as the nurse was setting up my IV he asked if I wanted an HIV test. I said sure. Then I thought ( Wait What!? is my gay-ness really that obvious!!!?) I know it was not the right timing to be self conscious, but I digress. I arrived at the hospital around 3 am on the 29th, he drew my blood early that morning and the doctor told my I was HIV the next morning. I was in shock for a couple of minutes. All I heard was ” You are Hiv+…” and then my mind started racing. My first thought was ” I wanted to have kids.” Prior to this whole downward spiral I had been on this destructive path since the beginning of the year. I was abused physically, emotionally, and mentally as a child by a grandparent who was an alcoholic and had PTSD. I seemed to have blocked it out of mind for many years until I became a teenager and all hell broke loose. Everyone was painting it as me just being a rebellious teenager( Granted I am a rebel without a cause) but I was crying out for help. I couldn’t articulate why I was feeling the way I did or what was really going on I just knew I felt like shit.

This blind sided everyone including me because I was a bright and happy kid who loved to act sing and make people laugh. So when this happened it was very frustrating. What was also frustrating was not having the support of my family. Couldn’t they see what was really going on? Couldn’t they notice the signs. Why didn’t anyone mention the abuse? Why was it swept under the rug? After dealing with this for 3 years I had a mental breakdown at 17, then another one a few months later, then another one 2 years later. I was diagnosed with PTSD(oh the irony) and major depression. I tried hard to fight through it but after years of the ups and downs and without support from the people I really wanted it from the most, I gave up. This year was the year of weed,alcohol, and sex for me. I didn’t care anymore my motto was “If she[my mom] doesn’t care then I sure as hell don’t” Of course during my sexual escapades I asked if they were HIV neg and of course they all said yes and of course some of them were lying. But I didn’t care if I got HIV then AIDS and then died I wouldn’t have been totally fine with that. I did use protection with some, but not with all. I really wasn’t concerned with catching anything but what I didn’t realize at the time was my reckless actions were affecting others. I was having unprotected sex with various guys and I could have spread it.

Of course they were putting themselves at risk also, but I have to take ownership and responsibility for my actions. Right after the doctor told me I was shipped of to a psych hospital for a few days(which should probably be a precaution for some people cuz you gon’ need some time to register what just happened) I felt really lonely but I was strangely optimistic. I know for some people being told they have HIV is devastating. Well for all it should be devastating and for me in someways it was. But I looked at the bigger picture. Being told I had HIV made me want to live my life. I want to be that hero my little brother and sister think of me as. I want to do all the things I set out to do: write, produce, act, sing, create. I’ve always believed I had a great future even when I was going through the bull-ish I had just given up on my aspirations. But having been told I had something that could possible kill me made me have a real talk with myself. I didn’t want to die, truthfully I never did I just wanted my family to care and to acknowledge what happened and to go on this journey of healing with me. We all have wounds and its hard trying to heal on your own. Why not do it with the people you love and who love you and who will be with you no matter what? I realize now that I have to live my life for me. And I’m going to do just that. And I finally have the support of my family which is what I’ve always wanted.(HALLELU) I’ve also done extensive research on HIV which was very overwhelming at times but now I know that it isn’t the death sentence it used to be in the 80′s.
The medicine they have out now is amazing and will help you with little to no side effects. And to the ones who are afraid to get tested or don’t want to get tested, the sooner you know the better, the sooner you’re on meds the better. The longer you wait the more you are at risk of having complications and spreading it to others which in my opinion is Cowardly and a Dirty Dog Move. I go to a facility with wonderful doctors and nurses who’ve all commended me on my knowledge of the disease and the fact that I’m not letting it get to me. I only have to take one pill a day its called STRIBILD, anytime of day with food and I go on with my regular routine. I am currently looking for a job and a school to attend to. In the meantime I am writing a script that I plan to turn into a web series and working on my music. I am happy, I am healthy, and I will do the things I was brought on this earth to do. Yes some days are still dark but life isn’t perfect and those days make me appreciate the light much more. Thank you for reading and just know whoever you are whatever you’re going through you can make it through. I know it sounds cliche’ but you can. But it is all up to you to make the choice to push through to the other side. You and only you have the power to do that. This is your life. Treat yourself right :)

Anonymous

31 comments for Speak Out : Dre’s HIV Story

  • Thank you for sharing your story, I wish more people in the community would come to grips with the harsh reality before this happens to them, and I try to educate a lot of the people I come into contact with, I love each and every one of you and hope we can come together and fight these horrible diseases….

    BE SAFE and ENJOY LIFE

  • An awesome testimony!

  • Having unprotected sex with an HIV+ person who is on Meds and undetectable, you have a 96% chance of not becoming HIV+. Having protected sex (with a condom) with an HIV+ person, you have a 98% chance of not becoming HIV+.

    Sex is between two people and so should be the responsibility, both parties are responsible for protecting themselves from each other. Disclosure might not be required if safe sex is practiced. Who is responsible when the person who you are having sex with don’t know that they are HIV+? You can be HIV- today and HIV+ tomorrow.

    Educate yourself about facts before sex and you might reduce you chances of contracting any disease.

  • Thank you for sharing your story, Dre’; I appreciate your honesty and candidly and the encouragement you’ve shared with us.

    I went through a similar downward spiral after my last relationship ended a little more than a year ago, and although I acted out through actions in search of what I needed to heal, hoping someone would notice and help, I kept these endeavors–meeting more men than I can remember anymore–rather private, so no help came. Then I met an HIV+ couple and waking up the next morning I finally knew I needed to reach out to get the help I was seeking.

    Thankfully I was able to gain support from my community and attend counseling that helped me resolve my issues and bring myself to a better place. I’m also fortunate that both my 3 month and 6 month HIV tests came back negative, but I understand it could have turned out much differently.

    I still meet men from time to time, but now I do so with complete respect for my sexual partners and I take special care to use protection and speak openly about our statuses before meeting, and then again after meeting to be certain. I hope others do the same; I know for me, I’d much rather be turned down because I refuse to pass on protection than go through the terror of waiting for my test results to come back.

    Again, thank you for sharing your story. I wish you the best.

  • Really inspirational story dre. I wish you the best of luck. We need more people likr you in this world ;-)

  • Thank you for tell your life story it is good for people to here what many have endured. It gives them understanding that many do not have. I am 30 years poz so many story’s and events but over the years of speaking to others. I am so very surprised how many are molested children and the twist and turns that that brings someone. I it’s healing for people to be able to talk about things when the time is right.
    “Believe deep down in you heart you are designed to do great things!”

  • I commend u for seeking your truth, recognising your worth & realizing that the key to emotional healing & soul survival is A MADE UP MIND!! Continue to live IN SPITE OF your circumstance not IN it. Many have walked the journey you’ve just discovered although we may have arrived there from different points in life. Let me b the 1st to say WELCOME, you are loved, appreciated and needed in this life. If nothing else another candle has been added to the guiding light that will continue to bring others thrue their rough side of the mountain in life. Stay blessed bro

  • Wow! Thanks for sharing your story, Dre. You are an inspiration. God bless you. Keep on doing your thing. You are a shining gem.

  • hey dude,,awesome story,,thanks for sharing,,hope everything is going good and your on the road to happyness,,and wish you all the best to come,

  • Thanks for sharing this story. So many people out there have this horrible virus and are really great people. But because of the awful stigma behind HIV, feel completely isolated. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Until there is a cure…you are stuck in this situation and now have to press on almost always living on the sidelines of life. No one deserves this type of life to live. WE ARE ALL STILL HUMAN!! Ignorance solves nothing!!

  • Hola que tal, Soy un chico VHI Poz, me detectaron en Julio del 2012, Fue un momento devastador para mi vida, siento que habia decepcionado a mi familia, a mi pareja y a mi mismo.
    Pense en suicidarme, pero gracias a Dios no lo hice por respeto a mis seres queridos, mi pareja es Negativo, y cuando se lo confese, se porto como un caballero que no hubo reproches ni preguntas, solo un abrazo calido y un beso en mi frente y lloro conmigo, y me dijo que nunca me dejaria, que esto tendriamos que salir juntos.
    Afortunadamente tengo un enfermero que es mi angel de la guarda, cuando me sentia devastado y con ganas de suicidarme, el me dio una leccion de vida, me dijo que ahora el VHI ya no es una sentencia de muerte, y me dio una leccion de su propia vida, y enmudeci de lo que me hizo ver lo bella que es la vida.
    Busque centro de apoyos y poco a poco me he estado educando sobre esta enfermedad, y he decidido ser un activista en Pro de esta enfermedad, actualmente estoy iniciando actividades para recaudar fondos para donar dinero a personas que son VHI Poz, pero que padecen cancer y diabetes, incluyendo mujeres, niños, hombres y gays, cualquiera que lo necesite dare lo poco que obtengo de mis actividades. Lo que pienso que Dios nos da muchas cosas, y a mi me dio esta enfermedad para tratar de ayudar a mas personas, se que es un camino dificil pero no imposible.
    Mi mayor apoyo son mi pareja, mi familia y por supuesto mis bellos 6 gatos que tengo, que me llenan de felicidad.
    Unamonos a decir no a la depresion y si a la mayor fuerza contra esta enfermedad, Ser Felices dia a dia, dando gracias a Dios por todo lo bueno y malo que nos da en esta vida.
    Atte.
    RLL

  • God never make any mistakes, thru all i been thru i can just say thank you ? i can actually walk and shoes i am h.iv positive aswell only 22 but im happy thats i control my whores ways to bad i had to catch dis but its life we all have stories i here for you keep ur head up be blessed

  • Dear Anonymous, you sound like a strong, couragous young man. We can all learn by your story and what you went through in your life.
    Thanks for putting your life story out there for alot of us to read to hopefully progress in this life.
    I wish you the best.

  • Congratulations! Though I been POZ for almost 8 yrs., I still congratulate anyone and all on the issue AND being strong enough to tell people about it.

  • This story is so moving! I wish this guy nothing but the best in this world!

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I too found out around my birthday July 28, of 2009 after my high school graduation.
    your story is somewhat similar to mine and I applaud your bravery and courage.

  • I read your story, and I really know what you mean and was going throw. I was rape from a child to 12 years old by my FATHER. It took me years to get over it just a little. By the time I was 21 I was raped again, and this time I became HIV positive. I tried killing myself but I small voice came to me and said YOU WILL LIVE.

  • Dear: Dre’
    To Whom It may Concern:

    I want to thank you for sharing your story. I am working, and doing research for a book, i was wondering if u would contact me through my e mail for now so we can talk and keep Anon. Jddavis2014@gmail.com. Any one who is interested in sharing there story personal struggles up and downs about battle with hiv can as well contact me as well. No need to give your real name to me as of yet. Will keep all information anon.
    Thanks JD looking forward to hear for you all..

  • Ok….this maybe cliché… but life is passion… yur not alone in this world….but my life was the same way….the 3 different type of abuse from mmy family made me hate myself…. but at the end of the day u only hve u n God….but faith is keep… yu cant change because it history it is wat is

  • Thanks for sharing Dre. And I’m glad i don’t do hooks up or trust my partner enough to have unprotected sex.

  • Thank-you for sharing your story. It always amazes
    me how we can demonize the disease .. and don’t listen
    to the stories behind the disease.

    Nobody wants to be infected.. but I’m struck by the
    number of infection stories that have (at their root)
    an abusive past.

    Your story resonates with that reality and thank-you
    for telling it

    We can all learn
    jeff

  • Dre, I just read your story and sitting here fighting back the tears, I just want to say, I commend you on being honest, straight forward, and candid. HIV is not the death sentence it use to be. I have seen many friends make transitions from this world to the next, simply because they couldn’t or would’nt get the help they needed. Be strong, and I hope your story encourages other young people as well. I look forward to checking out your music, script(on the web) and whatever else you do. As a professional musician, I’m there for you, cause if I became ill, I’d want the support of friends and collegues also, besides a loving family. Once again, KUDOS, and keep your head up!!!!!

  • I am reading a article on a vaccine pill to prevent aids, it is 1 bill daily and covered by insurance. It is called Truvada. My question is this, why isn’t this miracle drug being talked about, and informing us. The ariticle is in the OUT magazine, and is claimed to be over 99% protection.

  • There are many articles online about this topic and have been for some time now and many of them are from more reliable sources than OUT or other gay publications, who tend to only hype the having SEX part about it and leave out the rest on the information.

    FDA says; Truvada was approved to REDUCE the risk of sexually transmitted HIV in people who are not infected with the virus. The approval is for risk EVALUATION only at this time.

    Saying it prevents AIDS makes it sound as if it always work, which is doesn’t.

  • Keep the faith and stay strong. You will prevail.

  • Thanks for sharing your story. We’re here to support you, and continue advocating for safer sex.

  • Thank you for your testimony. If touched my heart and I wish you all the BEST in your life. I don’t know you but you are my HERO. thank you for sharing your life

  • THAnks for your words…! YOu’re stronger than you think. I wish you I wish you nothing but the best! :)

  • Hey Dre. Thanks much for your testimony and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

  • I have been H.I.V. since 1991,(23 years now) feeling really healthy and full of life, on a GREAt combination of meds that really work for me. I am living with H.I.V. and not dieing fron aids.
    I know alot of friends when finding out they were poz, hit rock botoom and gave up, so many past away and they could have helped themselves by trying a cocktail.
    thanks for having this space to write a few of my thoughts, Oh P.s. any one out there looking for a date :)

  • I know I’m late, but this is a powerful soul serving gut check testimony to spill truth through a dying world that needs more truth tellers as yourself to save a dying world. Keep on keeping on. I wish I had somebody wise like you in my life when I was younger. Bless you real good.

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