Personal story: Curt
Trust the people you tell that they aren't going to judge you, but help you
"I am 22 years old and found out last March 28th that I was HIV positive. I had requested to have the test done because I did not feel right. I knew that I worked long hours and stuff. But I knew something was not right and I was not going to stand by me passing it off as another cold. I remember that day very well... I drove to my doctor whom I had been going to for years, they had called me in saying you need to come in before the office opens, we need to talk to you. I got up that day early at 7:00 my mom and my sister followed me – my sister only went in the room. At that time, I don't think my mom could handle what was going to be said. My doctor looked at me and said that everything came out negative except for one test... and that he didn't know how to tell me that I was HIV positive.
I broke down right then and there. I knew my life was over as I signed out of my doctor’s office bawling my eyes out. I go to open the door to the office and as soon hit my face I stopped crying. I felt the wind move across my skin differently, the sun felt better on my skin than I could have remembered... As my mom was worried about me leaving and going to be by myself for obvious reasons, I reassured her I would be okay. I open the car door pulled the top of my car and turned up the radio really loud... because that too felt better the colours of the roads, and everything were brighter... more beautiful than anything I had ever seen. I got home change and went to straight to work not telling anyone not even crying all day. I work a good 16 hour shift that day… and the same for four days that week had not thought about it but had started to tell people. Most people were standoffish at first, but I had a little class with everyone at work about what the virus is, what it does and what risk it has on them.
I began heavily drinking every night, as I tend to do to cover up anything that I cannot deal with. I drank and drank and drank until I could not feel the pain anymore. That night we all went to a friend’s house. My best friend knew what I was going through but kept wondering why I could not talk about it with her of all people. Then we went outside, and I came clean and cried so hard my eyes were red a swollen... I decided I needed my mother right now... and it was already 3:30 am... my mom is still in bed. I am on the freeway driving home and there it was again I started crying so hard I had to pull over and stop the car and calm down. I finally got home after everything that had happen, and I walked in and know I smelt of cigarettes and beer like my mom hates… but I was all swollen and teary eyes when I walked in a ran to my room still crying. She comes in and she tells me. Curt you cannot let this disease control you like this. That made me wise up.... But it was still hard it sucked everyday seeing my friends not sit with me a break time because they were afraid of what they didn't know.
I was totally dead for dating for a very long time. Now all of my friends are back in my life and my family all is aware of my condition they aren't scared they are happy I made the decision to live. My point to this is find some sort of positive support from the time you find out until the time you can rely on yourself. You are not the disease; it is a part of you. You are in control of this. Family is a great support system to have through it all... but if you don't have that, there are numerous support groups that work with HIV infected persons. I saw the world in different eyes, it has been said that no one can put a price on a life, true in one aspect, but that don't get the true value of a life until their life has been threatened to be taken away. My HIV case is in its younger stages my viral load is 23k and CD4 is around 520 or so.
I know I have a lot more to go through with HIV. But just remember - trust the people you tell that they aren't going to judge you, but help you, and be there for you. Life is precious. Keep your head up and realize everything always works out like they are supposed to and hurt is only but temporary."
What we say
Everyone will cope differently when they learn they are HIV-positive. Feeling sad, angry, or scared are all normal reactions. As Curt has found out, getting support from those around you can help you to manage your emotions during this difficult time. For more information, check out our page on taking care of yourself.
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These personal stories have been submitted to us anonymously by individuals who use our site. Some of the stories have been edited for clarity purposes and names have been changed to protect identities.