For a long time I had been thinking about telling more than just my close friends or family about my diagnosis. It had become clear to me from listening to other positive people that to end stigma HIV needs to be openly spoken about by the people living with the virus. With this in mind I set about to make sure I was ready to be able to do this on the anniversary of my diagnosis.
The first people I disclosed to were my closest friends, they were all told within a month of receiving the news. I had always known that I had some of the best friends but the way they reacted, or rather didn’t, showed this belief to be true. I’ve had nothing but support and love from them. My parents and sister were told earlier this year, I wasn’t happy about keeping such a large aspect of my life a secret from them, it was making me an angry person and I couldn’t cope with the stress of having something hidden from them when we have all had such an open relationship. Again they gave me nothing but support and love.
To have family and friends around me is fantastic, but to have a man who I love with all my heart by my side since soon after being diagnosed is amazing. I met my boyfriend three months after diagnosis. After a drunken kiss he bit me on the lip and I went into a bit of early-day paranoia and ended up telling him there and then that I was HIV positive. Over the past three months I had plenty experience of men running for the hills upon this revelation so I was more than surprised when it didn’t seem to phase him in the slightest, even moreso when he later, and more importantly soberly, asked me on a date. Instead of judging me based on my status as many gay men do on the scene he saw a strength in me that attracted him to me and the rest is history.