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HIV diagnosis is not a death sentence

Photo: Bradford McIntyre, HIV+ since 1984, November 28th 2009

25 years later I'm still here

November 28th 2009

    Today, I am celebrating an Anniversary. I don't recall the exact day I found out I was infected with HIV, it was sometime in 1984. The day that stands out most for me is November 28th 1985.

On November 28th 1985, I was told by my doctor to inform my family, arrange my finances and funeral, I had six months to live!

Soon after, I left my job, friends and family and moved far away so that no one would see me get sick and die...but I didn't die. Twenty-five years later I'm still here.

The point is that I missed out on so much during those years when I hid my HIV status and lived far away from family and friends. Years, when I could have been close to those I love but instead I lived in isolation.

Years that I could have been close to my father (my mother died when I was young), brothers and sister, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and all my friends. All of whom when I did finally disclose I was HIV+ asked, "Why didn't you tell us? We love you!"

What was I thinking? I was deciding for others; deciding what others could or could not handle, what they could or could not know, instead of letting people make up their own minds!

The truth is that people infected with HIV can and do live normal lives. They go to school, have careers, marry, have children and much more!

Don't waste time worrying about what could or might be. Be present NOW!

Enjoy all life has to offer. Learn about HIV. Learn what you can do to stay healthy!

Fear will undermine every aspect of your life if you let it. Don't let HIV occupy your mind. Don't let HIV take away your JOY for living!

Do everything you love to do and spend time with people who you care about and who really care about you.

I must say that once I decided to no longer be afraid of people finding out I was HIV+ and since coming out about my HIV status...my life has been rich and full!

Yes, there have been health concerns, sickness, HIV/AIDS medications and side effects with HIV affecting every area of my life, but there is so much more that has made my life worth living!

You have one chance in life; make the most of it.

Bradford McIntyre


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