This post was written by our BLC intern, Anita Peete.
I had the pleasure of sitting down to talk with one of the Boston Living Center’s longtime members. This member did not want their identity to be disclosed, but as you read the conversation you will see that they had a lot to say. For privacy purposes, their name and any other identifying information has not been used.
How long have you been positive?
“I was diagnosed Jan. 8th 1992. So that makes it 14 years.”
What was your reaction?
“I wasn’t surprised or shocked. I was scared for one thing. I was dating someone and I didn’t want to tell him. I cried like a baby when I was told because I was hurt.”
What motivated you to keep living after your diagnosis?
How did your family react to the news?
“My family was very accepting and understanding.”
Do you remember the first person you told?
“Yes. The guy I was dating.”
You have been living with this virus for 14 years, what keeps you going?
“God’s blessings. This is my second chance at life. Being a recovering addict and also being diagnosed with HIV, how is that for a hell of a combination? Life itself [keeps me going].”
What are you hopeful for yourself as well as for the future of the virus?
“I just plan to keep on living. I thank God for every day that I am still alive. I hope I can live to see a change when it comes to HIV being so stigmatized. We get looked at like we are a walking disease. They don’t twist cancer or any other disease. But as soon as you mention HIV you are looked at crazy.”
What are some words that you want to leave with those who read this?
“Understand that we are people too. We have feelings just like you do. Don’t look at us any less than you would anyone else. We are human too!”
**Anita’s note**: There are a lot of people that do not experience the support and love of family members like the member interviewed here. I am hopeful that one day families and friends will obtain the necessary knowledge so that they can fully support their loved one that is positive. As a community, it is our job to continue to speak up and speak out on behalf of those who are positive. We must educate those who do not know, so that they do know. Education is key!