Today’s post is from an interview with a young member of LTAI. She talks about what it is like to be under 30 and positive.
As a young adult, what is it like living with HIV?
It hasn’t been easy. When I was 12, my parents told me I was HIV positive and I completely freaked out. I didn’t know why I was taking all the meds and why I was in the hospital so much. I didn’t tell my friends, I never told them in high school.
Why didn’t you tell your friends about your status?
I was afraid of their reactions. Back then, the school I went to was pretty elite, so I really didn’t want to get into it with them. My family didn’t make me feel any different that I had HIV. I grew up in a loving home with brothers and sisters. They didn’t have it, but nobody looked at me differently. I did all the things that kids do; I took horseback riding lessons, took swimming lessons. I just had more doctors’ appointments, was in the hospital more than they were and I had to take the medication every day.
Was it hard to hide your status from your friends?
Not really. Sometimes they asked me why I couldn’t give blood and I just said I was afraid of needles. But no, it wasn’t particularly hard. They probably would have been pretty accepting if I told them. I just didn’t want to because we had grown up together since kindergarten and I didn’t want to lose their friendship if they had known. For me, in recent years, it has gotten easier.
What would you like to share with young adults living with HIV?
That you can live a full life with HIV and can do anything that anyone else is doing. It’s not the end of the world; it’s not a death sentence… just stay strong, keep your spirits up and take your meds.
*This post was adapted from a message originally published in the “Let’s talk About It Magazine.”