According to statistics the average human being lives twenty seven thousand three hundred and seventy five days. That is a lot of days and astonishing that it only takes one of those days to change the rest of one’s life forever.
It seems in the broad spectrum of things that we have a lot of time on this earth however the reality is whether HIV positive or negative, the reality is our life our life here is very short. This life is a journey filled with ups and downs, different experiences, and moments in life we will never forget. June 5, 2015 marked one of those unforgettable significant markers in my life as it is my three year anniversary since being diagnosed with HIV.
As the date approaches every year despite mentally having accepted this virus as part of my life, it still tends to bring about an array of emotions.. Vivid memories of that day come back like an old black and white film on rewind mode hearing those words that would change my life “You Are HIV Positive”. Similar to someone who suffers from PTSD, I think it is completely natural for those of us who are positive, to experience similar symptoms on and surrounding the date of our diagnosis. Although everyone copes in different ways it is a very mind boggling experience to explain to anyone that hasn’t personally gone through it themselves.
The slow motion words of the doctor reading my diagnosis made it seemed like time had stopped, not to mention the looks on the nurse’s faces drawing the blood for my confirmatory test. A car ride which only took forty minutes seeming like the longest trip of my life flashes before my eyes. Memories of the look on my parents face and the tears that rolled down their eyes as they found out their youngest son had been diagnosed yet again with a life threatening condition seem so clear and vivid. The deafening sound of my ex-girlfriend as she let out an intense scream upon me telling her of my diagnosis seems to ring louder towards this time of year. The daily medicine that has become a routine for me seems much harder to swallow around this time of year.
It’s hard to believe three years have gone by when I didn’t even know how I would make it through day one. The doctor appointments every three months serve as a reminder of the virus that resides within my body. HIV stigma has reared itself in my life in a variety of ways throughout these years and is an enemy I am constantly battling.
Although this time of year is a rough one, it’s also a time to reflect on the blessings that have happened. I have found an inner strength, an inner love, and inner happiness that is unlike any other I have ever felt. I have worked through the grieving process and though I still have my good and my bad days, the good always outweigh the bad.
I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to help others become educated about the virus through sharing my story. Through the international support group I help moderate on I have had the opportunity to meet those living with HIV from all over the world. Social media has opened the doors to sharing my story, fighting HIV stigma, and offering emotional support to those who are going through a similar time.
Three years ago today I never knew if I could find someone that cared for me and be able to overlook my condition, I now know that is possible. I am with my beautiful girlfriend who is HIV negative and fully supports me and my activism for the cause.
Doubts clouded my mind if a child would ever be a possibility for me. Although we lost our child to miscarriage I still consider myself the father of a beautiful angel baby that now resides up above until the day his parents come home to see her innocent face.
So many strides have been made in the medical field in the three years I have lived with this virus. I look forward to the continuing of these research efforts for the ultimate goal that we all await, the day of an HIV free generation. I’m blessed too to live with good health and that my antiretroviral medicine Complera continues to do its job.
Although we may be far out from a cure I continue to live life and enjoy every precious moment. One thing this virus has taught me is to appreciate every moment of this journey. When we encounter roadblocks and obstacles in the way, they are simply tests of our courage and strength. Giving up is the easy way out however surviving takes determination and I am glad that through this process I remain a survivor. Three years and going strong with my whole life ahead of me!
As always make sure to check out Positive Lite.com who continue to help me share my story. There are lots of other great bloggers as well as exciting things happening at Canada’s Online HIV/AIDS Magazine.
This article previously appeared on Joshua’s own blog PozitiveHope here.