Sometimes the worst stigma is self-stigma, and sometimes you can cripple yourself with fear and the only way that stigma and fear are going to die within someone is through compassion and empathy.
In 2007 I generated so much courage in my heart and in my mind and I committed to myself at this time I would definitely share my HIV status to my father-in-law.
I would like really to share about the experiences or the challenges that we are facing as a gay man living with HIV from Zimbabwe.
I had no shame around it and I knew it would be a good opportunity to have a public role model, someone living a health life, living a normal, successful life on a television show.
Focus less on the disadvantages and what the advantages are which is creating more trust and ability to gain support.
She goes, "OK you have HIV, so what?" which is really not what I expected! And then looks over at my dad and says "Did you hear what he said?" and my dad said "Yeah I heard, and I share the same sentiments as you, he has HIV, so what!"
They taught me to be strong to stand against stigma and I think its where I picked up myself and became an activist, who I am today.
Mom, I have tested positive for HIV, but it doesn’t mean I will ever get sick it just means that I have the virus in my body.
That moment when you meet someone, they’re attractive, you’re really into them, they’re really into you and then you realise you have to tell them you are positive and it could go one of two ways.
After that time I disclose my status I feel like something went out, the burden was off my shoulders, because I disclosed my status.
I wasn’t told I was HIV positive until I was 13 years old and when I was told, it shattered my self-perception. When you are a teenager you have a certain idea of who you are and you’re trying to figure it out and being told at that age was heartbreaking.
What I would do is that I would disclose to them the very first time they expressed their interest, but then I grew tired of doing that and only two months after I started dating my exboyfriend did I tell him about my HIV status.
I decided to just accept my status then I disclosed to my friends and my family. It was so easy for me like that to just disclose to my family and friends. The moment I saw that they were accepting me that's the moment I even told my other friends.
“But I can’t bring myself to utter those words because I know it’s going to shatter their world. I know it, and it really hurts like hell.” – from the collection Blood Ties, edited by Salli Trathen
Ever since coming out with it, I’ve started to heal. I wish I had started that healing process 20 years earlier. I wish I had talked to people about it. Keeping that secret was pointless and sad and I feel for myself when I look back and see that younger person.
I fully disclosed not only my status but explain[ed] how this came about. It was the most painful experience I have ever faced.