My Positive HIV Test Was a Test of Life. I Passed'

March 21, 2023
4 min
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A young HIV positive Black woman smiling | SisterLove, Inc Atlanta Free HIV/AIDS Testing

I Remember It Like It Was Yesterday

A few years ago, it was a hot summer day, and I had been feeling sick for weeks. I had a persistent headache and felt exhausted all the time. I went to my doctor, and he suggested I get tested for HIV. I was scared, but I knew I had to face my fears and take the test. I knew there was a place I could get tested. I went there and was met by a woman who had the kind of beauty that comes from the strength to survive. I filled all out of the forms they gave me. They took my blood sample and gave me a pamphlet about the different stages of HIV. I sat in the waiting room, feeling anxious and wondering what my fate would be. I didn't know what to expect. The results came back a few days later. The woman from the clinic called me and asked me to come back in to speak with them. My heart sank. I knew what she was going to say. I walked into the clinic, and she greeted me with a smile that told me everything I needed to know.

"I'm sorry to tell you this, but your test came back positive."

I felt numb. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. She took me to a quiet room where we could talk more about what that meant. I had so many questions. "Am I going to die?", "Who did this to me?", "Can I have children?", "Will I be alone for the rest of my life?"

Almost like she could read my thoughts, she held my hand and told me that this wasn't a death sentence, that there were treatments available. Something about her voice made me believe her. I left the clinic feeling scared, angry, confused. I didn't know how I was going to tell my family and friends. I didn't know how I was going to live with this disease. I went home and cried. I cried for hours, thinking my life was over. How could I keep going? But then something inside of me clicked. I remembered that woman's voice, the way she held my hand. "This is not a death sentence". I knew that I had to fight this disease with everything I had. I couldn't let it beat me. I started taking my medication and going to support groups. I met other people who were living with HIV, and they gave me hope. They told me their stories and how they were able to live fulfilling lives. I learned that HIV wasn't a death sentence. It was a chronic illness that I could manage with medication, a healthier lifestyle, with love and support. I started exercising regularly by taking walks. Baby steps. I started to think about the food that I ate. I even started volunteering at the clinic where I got my diagnosis. Helping others who were going through the same thing I was helped me to heal. It wasn't easy, and it's still not, but I learned to live with HIV. I learned to love myself and accept my diagnosis, but not be defined by it. I'm still me. I still liked the things that I like. I was still valuable. I was still worthy of love.

I also learned that life is precious, and we should cherish every moment we have. HIV was a wake-up call for me, and I started living my life to the fullest. Years later, I'm happy and healthy. I'm grateful for the support of my family and friends and for the medical advances that have made it possible for me to live a fulfilling life. I'm grateful for that woman's kindness, wisdom, and strength. I also know now that I'm not alone. There are millions of people just like me living with HIV. But I also know that I am living proof that this is not a death sentence." -Anonymous

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