HIV and Life Without Fear

Hide Video Transcript

Video Transcript

I was diagnosed in November of 2010, which was just a few months after I had moved to Los Angeles from the Midwest, following college graduation, embracing the LA experience as a 22-year-old gay man, as wholeheartedly as I could. Immediately after my diagnosis, I was being comforted by my closest friends, because I knew people who had lost their lives from it.

I knew people in my family that had lost their lives from it. The way I'd been brought up and the experiences that I'd had in life, I knew that there were still people out there living their lives as undetectable and completely healthy. So I took a pragmatic approach and said, OK, what do I do now? What are the next steps? What needs to happen now?

Treatment is very simple. I know my isn't universal, I know other people who have more complex treatments. But mine has been one pill per day every morning, and that's it. When the previous medication becomes obsolete, as they make new discoveries and advancements in HIV treatment, they replace those medicines with similar versions that have fewer possibilities for long-term symptoms.

Modern HIV treatment just lets me live my life as I fully want to. I have been undetectable since January 2011. And not enough people realize, still even to this day, that undetectable means I'm untransmittable. It means I've not had any symptoms. I have no side effects, to speak of, from this treatment.

I may have had it initially, by the most I ever had from that was vivid dreams. And with that being the case, I have not had any change in my daily existence. So someone who may have just been diagnosed with HIV, I want them to know that they can live their lives without fear as they lived their life before.

It's not the end of the world though. It may feel like it in the moment. We are all out there. We are living our lives just like everyone else to their fullest potential.