Speak Out : Dre’s HIV Story
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.
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 🙂