Stories Of Promise - You Have To Put Yourself First
How am I going to care for myself?
How am I going to get treatment?
What am I going to do?
Those were my biggest fears when I found out that I was HIV+. Not about having HIV, but how to take care of myself. I have always heard about how expensive it is. That was the scary part for me. I'm the type of person, whatever is in front of me, I just stop and don't dwell on the problem. I'd rather find a solution. I'm a person of faith. So, I'm like, “Okay, God, you gotta show me right now.” I Googled HIV care in Florida and found a local organization to help me navigate through these challenges. Someone from the organization came to the hospital in an hour. That same day I was discharged and the very next day, I started free Anti-Retroviral Treatment.
I quickly built a routine to take the medicine. I don't take my medication in the morning; I take it at night before I go to bed. I always remember to take it every night because I have a bottle of water and the medication is on my nightstand. And it's still there today. I know I must take it regularly. Even when I go away, it's the one thing I do, put it on my nightstand with a bottle of water. It’s important to be able to have fun and enjoy, but when you come back home, I see it on my nightstand, so I remember to take it.
It took me a while for the viral count to come down, but it eventually did and now I’m under 15. This means I’m undetectable and cannot transmit the virus. Everything in life is another hurdle or obstacle thrown at you. No matter what stigma, or how people may feel, if I stick to what I know, with medications, I'm going to be fine. What doesn’t kill you gets you stronger, and this is that. The fact that you literally must fight to stay alive just boosts you up even more. There’s a path for you to follow in order to stay healthy.