Thursday, March 9, 2017

Not just #9 and #10: NWGHAAD, my mom, and my sis

The Office of Women's Health picked me for one of the ambassadors for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. That is on March 10 every year so it's tomorrow.

Image result for nwghaad

There are lots of ambassadors, a group of us. Everybody is doing something different to help educate people about HIV for NWGHAAD.

I didn't know what I was going to do. I didn't want to do interviews or videos because I'm shy. I can't plan a big event because I'm just a kid. I don't have money to set something up. I could ask my parents for help, but I'm getting older and trying to do more things on my own. I don't want my parents doing everything for me all my life. I want to make my own way in my life. I'm 15, not a baby. 

I was on Twitter when I got the idea. There was this cute little girl who's 5 years old who dressed up like Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman and other important black women for Black History Month. She picked a different person and dressed like one of them every day.

I thought her idea was cool. I decided I would pick a different woman with HIV and tweet about them every day of March if I can. Because there's a lot of women with HIV and they are important. Girls with HIV need to see that we can grow up to be like this.

I'm running out of people and it's only the second week. So if anyone has people they can tell me about, it would help me alot! But today and tomorrow I already have the perfect two people to write about.

I don't have a lot to write because I don't remember much about them. But they are #9 today and #10 tomorrow. My mom and my big sister who are both in heaven.

My mom and my sister are the first two women I ever knew with HIV. My mom, dad, and sister left their home country because of danger and they wanted to stay alive. My mom was pregnant with me and very weak. She already had AIDS, and so did my dad and sister. But they couldn't wait until I was born to leave. They had to rush.

They went as refugees to another country where they could be safe. Even though my mom was weak and sick, she loved me enough to fight to stay alive long enough to nurse me so I could get a little older and have a chance to survive. She died when I was a baby. Then it was just my dad and my sister until they died. 

Image result for refugee

My sister was two years older than me. She was always sick and throwing up. I was very sick too because my dad didn't have money to get HIV meds for us that much. But she liked to sing a lot to make me feel better when I was sick. She looked like me.

I don't remember my family much, but I am still alive because they sacrificed their life for me. By going to another country where I had a chance to be safe, and after they died I was able to come to the US and start taking medicine. I had AIDS when I first came to the US, but I started meds and I became undetectable. I have a new family and I have been with them for ten years now. 

It's because my mom, dad, and sister loved me so much that I am here today. I have a great family with parent, brothers, and sisters and I love them, but I will always love my mom, dad, and sister and I will always be thankful they cared so much about me. I dedicate National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and day #9 and #10 to my mom and my sister. 

I was a sick refugee girl dying of AIDS. Now I am a young woman LIVING with HIV. I am going to live my life and help other people so I can make both of my families in heaven and on earth proud. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I'm HIV+ and I care about trans rights and #SB6

Image result for trans bathroom

I hear a lot of things about the people who lived a long time ago, in the early days of HIV before I was born. What they went through was terrible. They were treated like they weren't even human, and even though they were dying every day no one allowed them to have any say in their health care or their own life until they fought to be listened to. I am lucky that I was born at a time when we have a lot more options. I have different medicines I can choose from, not just AZT. I can go to school with other kids who don't have HIV. I have rights. And even though stigma is still around it's not as bad as what older people had to go through.

I think the same way about all the black people who fought for civil rights. They had it much worse than we do now with racism. They couldn't vote. They couldn't live where they wanted to live or work where they wanted to work. They had to use colored bathrooms, drink from colored water fountains, go to colored schools and hospitals. They had to enter through back doors and sit in the colored section if there was a colored section. It was a horrible life to live. They worked hard so things would be better for kids in the future like me. 

Somebody had to be first, even though it wasn't easy to do what they did. And somebody had to be brave enough to care about doing the right thing even though it didn't have anything to do with them. There were HIV negative people who helped fight for people with HIV, and there were white people who marched and protested and fought for people who were not white to have rights. Those people did the right thing because they cared. 

I want to do the right thing to. I'm only a kid and I can't vote yet. But I can do other things. I have a mind and a voice. I can use it to help other people, just like I was helped. I want to be treated with respect and to have rights, and I want other people to have them too. We all deserve them.

So for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Day I am writing about all the bills and news that I have been seeing about not letting transgender people use the restroom. Especially kids. Where I live this is a big thing. It makes me sad, because if I was born at a different time I wouldn't be able to use the bathroom I wanted to use because I am black in the 60's and because I have HIV in the 80's.

They keep saying, "Do you want a man in the restroom with girls?" And acting like girls are going to be in danger. Even though people are saying they are doing this because they are trying to protect girls, nobody asked us girls if we think we need protection or what we think of this whole thing. So I am writing about it. 

I think it has to do with National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Day because transgender people can be women and girls, and they can have HIV or need to know how to prevent it. But even if it doesn't seem to have enough to do with women and girls, part of being a woman is standing up for other people and what you believe in. So I am growing into a woman today. 

Below is my poem for NWGHAAD.

Because of people who came before me I'm able to live,
Life doesn't end just because you're HIV positive.
I am supposed to write something for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
And today it's my choice
To use my voice
To say something important that I've been meaning to say.

I don't like news so I choose the 
Not to read.
But sometimes I need 
To know, so I go
Online to take a look.
And I regret it. Because now I'm shook.
I'm depressed but all the negativity that I see,
There are kids like me who can't even pee!
Because people are really upset that they're trans,
Why do you care? They were made by God's hands.
I'm not scared to have them in the bathroom stall,
Actually, I'm not scared of them at all.
All this mess reminds me of how you used to be
With people like me who have HIV.
They built a separate bathroom for Ryan White.
Just because he had AIDS. That wasn't right.
You shouldn't be scared of people who are different than you,
We're just trying to do the best we can do!
Whether trans or not, HIV positive or negative,
We're still people. Please let us live.
There is no cure for what I've got
So I have to live with it, like it or not.
I was born with HIV
It's a part of me
And Gavin Grimm 
Is a him who just wants to pee. 
We have come a long way in the HIV fight
But I can't feel comfortable if other people don't get the same rights.
You used to fear people like me, but now you're more informed.
I hope you stop fearing trans kids for not being what you assigned when they were born.

(This post is also published on HIVE Online.)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I'm just a normal girl with HIV

(Girls Health interviewed me for March 2017 for a blog post on their website! Here is the interview.)

Meet Mina K. She’s a teen who was born with HIV. However, Mina is determined not to let her status steal her joy. She says that HIV isn’t the boss — she is!

Mina is a blogger and youth advocate educating others about HIV and AIDS, which is why she’s serving as a National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day ambassador. She wants to share her story to help others understands what it’s like living with HIV.  In her interview, Mina opens up about being born with HIV, what it’s been like to share her status, and educating others. She also shares her thoughts on what you can do to help end the stigma and on healthy relationships.

How old are you?
I am 15 years old.

Will you tell us about how you learned you had a health condition?
When I was a little girl, I knew something was different about me because some people acted weird and mean towards me. I didn’t know why, though. When I was five years old, my new mom (I was adopted) told me that I was going to need to start taking a medicine every day to help keep me strong and healthy. She said the medicine was like a boxer or a soldier inside my body that would fight off a “sickness” I was born with. I didn’t understand what she meant because I didn’t speak much English, so I thought she said I was born with a “citrus” (like a fruit) not a “sickness!”

Can you talk a little bit about your experience sharing your status with others?
The people I told first were my friends from elementary school. I was scared that they wouldn't accept me, but I didn't want to keep it from them. All of them accepted me and told me, "It’s OK." I feel very grateful to have them in my life.
I have told some other people, like teachers and Bible study leaders, and they accepted me, too. I have had a few friends who acted funny about it — like they were going to get sick by being around me. That’s annoying, but most people have been nice. Maybe it’s because I’m still a kid.

I know people are really scared of HIV and don’t understand it. I always worry about how people are going to act. I had a dentist who did not want to clean my teeth, and I had someone tell me to leave a birthday party (my mom got SO mad!) because they knew I had HIV. And I remember how some people used to treat me when I was little, and I didn’t like that.

It’s easier for me to tell people who I don’t know. That’s why I like blogging and advocating. It’s not the same as telling people you are going to see every day. It hurts when classmates and friends reject you more than strangers.

How did learning your status affect you growing up?
Sometimes it would make me so stressed to know that every night I take my meds, it means I'm still sick and will be for a long time. But my parents always tell me that I am just like everyone else even though I have HIV. They raised me to believe HIV is nothing to be ashamed of and as long as I take good care of myself and take my meds, I can grow up and live a long life.

Something that has helped me is being around other people with HIV who know what it’s like to live with it. My family is involved with different things having to do with HIV. I went to camps for kids with HIV and kids with family members who have HIV.

Can you talk about healthy relationships?
People with HIV need to love themselves, and people who don’t have HIV need to love and accept us. A lot of people with HIV feel like nobody will want them because of HIV, so they let people treat them badly. We deserve to have healthy relationships filled with love and to be treated with respect.

As an HIV and AIDS advocate, what do you do to educate others?
When I told my friends, I wanted to clear the wrong ideas that people have about HIV/AIDS. I said that me touching them, hugging them, or eating off of their plate won't give it to them. I also explained how it is transmitted, and if they were still curious, I would send them things they could read about HIV/AIDS to learn more.

I do the same thing when I advocate. I just talk to people. I’m not a doctor or a special person. I’m just a kid. But I do have HIV, so I know some things that doctors don’t know. Meaning, for a doctor it’s their job to know about HIV, but for me, it’s my life and I have firsthand experience.

I like to educate others by writing. I don’t like public speaking because I have really bad social anxiety. I blog about HIV for different organizations that focus on HIV and women. I have helped host webinars from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and I’ve been part of a few online chats about HIV. I also sign up for HIV research studies and write letters to senators when there is a bill about HIV, and you can, too. I also helped start an online campaign against HIV stigma a few years ago, and I help promote my city’s AIDS Walk.

What do you think girls need to know about HIV and AIDS?
First, I want to talk to girls who have HIV. If you have HIV, no matter how you got it, it's not your fault. It’s not a fault, it’s a virus. Also if you hate taking your meds, just remember every time you take them, it means you are going to live another day.

To girls who don’t have HIV, please don’t be scared of people with HIV. We are just like you. But it’s good to know how to be safe so you don’t get HIV, too. Learn all you can so you can be in charge of your health.

What can other girls do to help end the stigma around HIV and AIDS?
Help others learn the facts. Even if you don’t know anybody with HIV, educate your friends and other girls so that they know how you get it and how you don’t so they know how to protect themselves.

You can talk to people in your school and government. Ask them to teach kids about HIV/AIDS so they understand it but aren’t scared of it. Another thing you can do is ask people to talk about HIV in a different way. We don’t like the phrase “infected with HIV.” There are other ways to say that. It makes me feel like I am just some deadly, nasty infection.

What's your advice for others living with HIV?
HIV will not make you into a whole different person. HIV is not a personality, and it doesn’t take away your personality. Also, please always take your meds even if you hate taking them. Those meds are your savior. They keep you and me alive!

HIV/AIDS is not the boss. YOU are the boss. It revolves around you. You don’t revolve around it. It is not always easy, but you have to fight. Show HIV you can beat it. In this war you’re having, you can live a long life and a good life with HIV.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I want people who have HIV like me to know we are all important and we can all do something to help. I used to say I would never be an advocate because the advocates I saw were extroverts. They were in magazines and on TV shows with their full names, and they were very open. I could never do that. I am loud and giggly, but I’m very introverted and private. I am not ashamed of having HIV, but I will never be like the people who are so public. I am a girl who likes to work behind the scenes, not be the star on the stage. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that we all have a place. If you are OK telling everyone you know you have HIV or if you only tell one person and educate just that one person, you still did something good! You don’t have to try to be like anyone else. Just being yourself is good enough.

Find out what every girl needs to know about HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. You can also learn more about National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and healthy relationships.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sprained Ankles, Adoption, HIV, and Disability

A few months ago I tripped on the stairs in my house and hurt my ankle really bad. I am very clumsy and fall a lot. It doesn't help that I have arthritis and falls hurt me more than other teenagers. But this one was worse than the other times. My parents had to take me to the emergency room because I was in so much pain. I was lucky it wasn't broken but I did have a bad sprain and had to use crutches for almost a month.

This was my first time using crutches before. I had to get used to it. First I really sucked at it and was very slow. It was annoying. Then I got more used to it and did better. I wasn't as fast as walking the regular way but I was able to move and get stuff on my own. I might have needed more time to get places but I could still get there.

A lot of people were very concerned that I was on crutches. Especially kids at school and grownups too like at the store and church. They kept trying to baby me and carry all my stuff and help me all the time. And people kept saying stuff like, "Poor you!" And "What happened?" They were trying to be nice but it was also like really embarrassing too having all that attention. I just like to melt into the crowd. I don't like standing out.

It reminded me of me having HIV and also having arthritis. And being adopted too. Sometimes when people find out I have HIV or juvenile arthritis they feel sorry for me just like people felt sorry for me because of my crutches. Or when they find out my parents died and I got adopted. They get sad and treat me different. They ask, "How did you get it (HIV)?" or "How did your parents die?" Or, "What's it like being adopted?" "Aren't you too young to have arthritis? My grandma has it."

I know they are just trying to help and be nice but it feels really weird. And makes me feel bad and uncomfortable. Like I'm not a regular person at all but I am just someone you feel sorry for. I don't want extra attention and I don't want pity. Help is okay if I need it or ask for it, but I may not need it. It's better to ask first because you trying to help by doing stuff I can do myself or telling me how sorry you are for me all the time just might make me feel worse, not better.

I like walking regular better than using crutches, but I would rather walk with crutches than not be able to get around. Just like life would probably be easier without HIV or without arthritis or if my parents didn't die. But I would rather have the life I have WITH HIV and with my disability and having my adoptive family than not having life. This is the life God gave me and I'm going to live it and not waste time crying every day about how it might be harder for me than somebody else. At least I have life, and a good life. It's not that bad.

Next time you see someone different and you want to feel sorry for them think about if you would want someone to feel sorry for you if it was you. Maybe you will change your mind and just treat them normal. Having HIV doesn't kill you. Having a disability doesn't kill you. Being adopted doesn't kill you. I am okay and you should be okay with it if I am okay with it.

(My post was originally published on the A Girl Like Me blog HERE.)

Friday, April 8, 2016

My Fear As a Teen Living With HIV (Dating)

It’s almost National Youth HIV Awareness Day. Last year I wrote something about it that was positive. This year I’m having a hard time being positive. Maybe it’s because I’m a teenage girl and because of puberty I’m really sensitive about everything. But I don’t think that’s all. I think as I get older certain things about me having HIV get harder.

I’m not ashamed of living with HIV. It’s not a bad thing – it’s part of me. But it complicates things sometimes. One thing that it is complicated right now is dating. It seems like almost everyone around me is dating. Everybody but me.

I have never had a real boyfriend. I’ve had a crush on a guy, and I’ve had guys have crushes on me. There’s a guy who I can tell likes me right now (but I don’t like him back because he really annoys me). But having a crush is not the same as having a boyfriend. A lot of my friends have had boyfriends, but it’s not as easy for me as it is for them. Because they don’t have HIV like I do.

When they meet a cute guy, all they have to worry about is whether he is nice, whether he’s a Christian, whether he likes them back, whether he’s smart, whether he’s a player, whether their mom or dad will let them go out with somebody or whether they’ll have to sneak to date him. I have to worry about that AND whether he or his parents are going to have a problem with me having HIV. I think about it a lot and it stresses me out.

When I was little, I was scared that nobody would want to be with me because I have HIV, so I decided I would just fall in love with one of the guys from camp. Because all of them either have HIV or somebody in their family has it, so they don’t care about it. But later I started thinking it wasn’t fair that I would be stuck having to choose only camp people when there’s billions of people all over the world. (And some of the guys from camp are really weird.)
But if you don’t date at camp, then you don’t always know what’s going to happen. Somebody at school or church or some other place might seem nice, but how do you know you can trust them? What if they only date me because they feel sorry for me? Or if they’re trying to use me because they think I’m desperate and I’ll do anything to keep them?
And if I don’t tell them then when they do find out they’ll be mad that I didn’t trust them enough to tell them. Trust is important in relationships. I know I would be mad if I found out my boyfriend didn’t trust me, so of course they would be mad at me if I didn’t say anything and later I told them about it.

I know lots of people living with HIV fall in love, get married and have a family. But a lot of people are alone too. I’m okay being alone now, but I don’t want to be single forever. I don’t want to hide or lie about who I am and I don’t want to just pick any random guy.

A lot of people don’t understand young people that have HIV have problems too. Everything isn’t easy for us just because we are young. It’s good that we have meds and that we can grow up to be old, but we still have things to worry about.

Today, I am worried about if I will ever find someone to love me for me.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

It's YOUR Choice (Whether You Disclose Your HIV or Not)

When I was little I loved the color pink. I was so small for my age I still wore toddler sizes in first grade. I liked Dora the Explorer and Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus). I wanted to wear dresses all the time and for a while I didn't speak any English, only French.

I'm not a little girl anymore. I'm a teen. I hate pink. I am taller than my Grandma and almost as tall as my mom. I think Dora is annoying and weird and Miley Cyrus is just nasty. I wear jeans more than dresses and my English is so good a lot of people get surprised when I tell them I'm from Africa.
People change.

I have changed. When I was little I wanted to talk a lot about HIV. I think it started when I had to go with my mom to all these classes about HIV. The people let her bring me every week. It was at night and I was the only kid. The other people were all grownups. Most nights I would color or draw or fall asleep but sometimes I stayed awake and listened. I didn't hardly understand whatever they were talking about but I knew it was about HIV and helping people. I wanted to help too.

I started telling a lot of people I had HIV and telling people how you get it and how you don't. I told people how you can stay healthy with meds too. I did this for a long time. I told teachers, friends, people at church, and neighbors. My mom didn't care that I told people but told me to be careful because some people are nice about it but some are not. I even begged to go to another state for a few days so I could do a training for kids to learn how to travel to all these different places and be part of a group that gives speeches about HIV at schools and businesses.

I even got a chance to meet Ms. America and go with her to give a speech. But that day I got scared and couldn't go on stage, so one of the grownups had to go out there with me and read my speech while I stood next to them holding their hand and looking down at the ground. I didn't know the crowd would make me feel so scared. I was so scared I thought I was going to pee on myself! That was the first and last time I did a big speaking thing. That's why now I write instead.

Things started changing. I went to a new school. I moved. I got older. I didn't feel comfortable telling so many people I had HIV. I am not ashamed to have HIV and it's not some big secret. It's not because I am ashamed that I don't tell people. It's because I am a teenage girl and I am dealing with enough of my own things. I have school, family, friends, health and other things in my head. Teenagers can be really stupid. So can grownups. People have been trying to teach people about HIV since before I was born. But a lot of people are still scared and ignorant. That's annoying and it would make me not want to talk to somebody anymore if they don't want to believe the truth. And some people start feeling sorry for you and acting like they should be really nice to you because they think since you have HIV you're about to die soon. I don't want people doing that. Don't feel sorry for me because I'm not dying. I might even live longer than you!

So it makes me a little sad sometimes when I see other families around where the kid has HIV and the parents don't and the parents tell the whole world their kid is adopted and has HIV without knowing if that is what the kid wanted them to do. They tell the kid's name and where they live and show their picture. It's okay if the kid made the choice along with the parent (if the kid is old enough), but as a person who is HIV positive myself I don't think it's okay for HIV negative parents to do that on their own.

I know the parents are probably trying to help, but I am worried because people change. I changed. When I was five, I wanted everybody to know. When I was ten, I wanted everybody to know. I'm a teen now, and I have decided I only want to tell people when I feel comfortable. Maybe in a couple of years I will decide to go back to telling everybody again. But now I'm not.

I can make the choice to go back and forth because the whole world doesn't know my business. But if your parents already announced it to the whole world when you were a little kid and now you changed your mind about so many people knowing, do you have that choice? Are you supposed to sell your house and switch schools? Start going by your middle name? And why should you have to do that like you're a spy? That's a lot of trouble. Wouldn't it just be easier for your family to wait until you're older and decide what you want? Because it's your HIV. It's not their HIV. You have it in your body, not them. So shouldn't you be deciding what's best for you - not people who don't have HIV? Even if they do love you a whole lot?

I do think it's cool when young people are comfortable telling lots of other people they have HIV. I have read about Paige, Jake Glaser, Shawn Decker, and Ashley Murphy. They are all people who grew up with HIV and don't mind going on the news or being in magazines talking about HIV. I also got to meet some people like that. I met Hydeia Broadbent who was born with HIV and has been telling people all her life since she was a toddler. I met Marvelyn Brown too, and she has been telling people since she was a teenager and wrote a book about having HIV. I also met a lady named Jeanne White-Ginder who had a son named Ryan White and before he died he spoke out a lot about AIDS.

If it's a kid's choice, doing that kind of thing is very cool and very brave. But I think it is just as brave to live your life with HIV and know who you are. I educate people about HIV without telling everybody I have it. I help in other ways like being part of HIV research, talking to state leaders about laws that affect people with HIV, raising money for AIDS Walk, telling teens about ways not to get HIV, and writing about my life as a girl with HIV. I am never going to go on TV or on a stage and talk about HIV. I don't even want to go on TV or on a stage and talk about my favorite music group! I'm too nervous for that. But I still have a job to do to help make things better for people with HIV.

You have a right to change. It's your mind and it's your life. I hope your parents and doctors make sure you know a lot about HIV and about people so you can be mature enough to decide. If you want to tell lots of people, I hope your parents will support you and not make you feel bad about that. If you want to keep it private, I hope your parents will support you and not make you feel bad about it. They aren't the ones with HIV, you are. But hopefully they will understand why you are making the choice you are making.

Both ways are okay if it was YOUR decision. If you are okay, that's what really counts.

If you get rid of the shame deep inside about HIV and love yourself it doesn't matter if only five people know or five million people know.

(My post was originally published on the A Girl Like Me blog HERE.)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Friend or Frenemy?

A few months ago, I became pretty close with a girl at my school that I will call E. E and I knew each other last year, but we weren’t as close as we are this year. We get along really well and love to hang out, text, call, and go places with each other. I was really glad to have made such a good friend. But something bad happened not long ago that threatened to mess our friendship up. It had to do with bad information about HIV.

My family is trying to adopt another child with HIV. Like me, the baby is from another country. I was so excited when the agency sent us his pictures and file. He is the cutest ever. Since E and I are good friends, I wanted to share my good news with her. I texted her that I might be getting a baby brother soon and that I was so happy. She texted that she was happy too. I texted her his age, his name, and sent her one of his pictures. In the picture he has an IV in his arm. She texted to ask me why he had an IV and I told her that he was in the hospital. She asked me why he was in the hospital and I said that he had HIV and had gotten sick, so he was starting HIV meds.

She acted very strange. She texted me that I needed to be careful when he comes here to live because he might “give” me “AIDS.” She told me that I shouldn’t share food with him and that I needed to be careful with his spit up and diapers too or I might “catch AIDS from him.” I was totally shocked. I thought she wouldn’t act like that since she knew that I did things for HIV. Like she knows that I raise money for AIDS Walks and go to HIV meetings with my mom and stuff. But I guess she didn’t realize that I have it because we never talked about it. Now I was sad because not only was she throwing shade on my future little brother, I figured she would have a problem with me too, since I have the same thing he has.

I texted her that you can’t get HIV from saliva and baby diapers. We then started arguing through text messages. She said that you COULD. I said no, you only get HIV from sex, needles, and birth. She said that I was wrong and that her parents had told her you could get it from blood, sweat, saliva, and pee. She said her parents studied science in college so they knew a lot about health stuff. I told her the stuff they learned must be really old because it was wrong. I was getting really upset and texted brb [be right back] to her.

I felt really frustrated. I went to my mom and asked if she could text me some websites about HIV for a friend. She asked me why, and then noticed the sad look on my face. I handed her my phone and she read the messages. “I’m so sorry, baby,” she said. She told me not to be mad at my friend and her parents because they were just ignorant about HIV and didn’t know they were wrong. She gave me three websites and I sent them to my friend.

She said that she would look at them later to learn more. I hoped she would. I felt like nothing would be the same between us anymore if she had a problem with people with HIV. Because I am a person with HIV. I care about her a lot, but if she can’t accept HIV then our friendship is not going to last.

I don’t want people around me who are scared that they are going to “catch AIDS” from me.

(My post was originally posted on the HIVE Online blog HERE.)