Sunday, August 22, 2010


Before I hand out the party hats and favors allow me to introduce the man of the hour. My name is Christopher, I’m twenty seven years old, I live in New York City, and today is the six month mark since I was diagnosed with HIV. For some, this wouldn’t call for a conventional celebration as it would seem there is nothing to smile about and in the beginning of this journey I would have agreed with them. For others it would mean a time to celebrate the recent news I received from my specialist that my medications are working allowing for a stronger immune system. I can make a list a mile long of things that represent a six month anniversary in my life- whether it be good or bad. The truth of the matter is that my choosing to celebrate is not influenced solely on HIV and the direction it has taken inside my body- it’s about me, Christopher. Yes, for the first time in over fifteen years of ongoing clinical depression and my endless search for contentment has come to a close. I’ve learned to be honest with myself, and others, but most importantly have finally found the happiness within myself that I have been longing for.

For years I haven’t taken care of myself mentally and physically. I drank heavily and exposed my body to dangerous situations which in turn I believe is the reason I am in the predicament I’m in. It was as if I was searching for something that I simply could not find. Throughout high school and college I was the forgotten soul, at least in my mind. While my friends around me were building lasting relationships and were career-minded, I stood alone. In order to change that I thought I’d have lots of sex and was always be in “the scene”- That way people would recognize me and want to be around me more. Then, I started intercourse in ways that felt great but little did I know it was taking a significant toll on my health. At the time I didn’t think it mattered, however, at the end of the day I was the one that was alone in bed.

Then, the inevitable happened- I got sick. It was a long, hard battle that affected my close friends, my coworkers, immediate family and the demons within me. When the doctors said it wasn’t the flu or a cold I knew in the back of my mind exactly what it was. Two months later it was confirmed. After that I shut down from the world- even more than usual- for quite a while. There was nothing doctors, specialists, therapists, friends or anyone could have done to remove me from my downward spiral. Everything seemed hopeless and suicide was definitely an option for me.

Then, one day in May things just clicked. It was as if I snapped out of everything I was thinking since the mid 1990’s. I still couldn’t tell you specifically what it was, but I didn’t care. Yes, my doctor told me that the virus in my system was undetectable and I’m going to live, but I also realized what it meant to be a true friend to others and to be there for those that needed help. I realized HIV was only a small token in my life and that there was nothing wrong with me and there was no reason for me to try to be the center of attention because that does me more harm than good. It dawned on me that I am worth so much more on this earth than I really gave myself credit for. I had to stop putting so much emphasis on what I expected from me and what I thought others expected from me. After I put that thought into play I started to feel different about things. Shortly after, I began using my free time to volunteer work, making new friends and hearing what they have to say about their lives and creating “to-do” lists that constructively occupied my free time. The moral is that in order for me to be truly happy I had to surround myself with people and things that stimulated my brain- without sex and alcohol. It’s a large world out there filled with all different types of activities, and those activities involved human beings. Those were the human beings I wanted to get to know.

I know this all sounds obvious and cliché, but when you are going through rough times nothing seems to make sense to others other than yourself. It’s like someone trying to explain to you one plus one equals two and even though you know this to be factual it just doesn’t register in your head. I had to find happiness within myself and no one else can find it for you. Being diagnosed with HIV allowed me to learn how precious life is and how much I want to be here for my friends and my family. HIV negative Christopher is dead, recently HIV positive Christopher is dead. Christopher, on the other hand, is alive and well- and he couldn’t display any more smiles on his face than he has been these past few weeks. Today also marks the first day of summer, my favorite season. I know the direction I am heading in is more appealing to those in my life and those I have not yet met than the direction I was in before I was diagnosed. I know others that are going through this battle are not as lucky as me, but, if I can lead one person towards true happiness then I have done my job- which is what I think my purpose in life truly is. My name is Christopher, I have HIV, and now when I wake up in the morning, I smile.


  1. In The short time we have known each other you have touch my soul.... you have such a gift!! Thank you for spirit!! Your smile!! Im feel truly blessed to have come across your path...

  2. It took me two years to talk to myself of the disease. I still feel scared to think about it. It took much longer to take control of the disease and my life. Three years Medicaid under the physician's control, leaving me by your criteria, I think good. Now I control if the medicine makes me good or bad, I decide. Of course with the counseling of my doctor. I have taken three different classes of drugs in the last five years. Now I just take one, Atripla. This is what I produce fewer side effects, the most livable. I arrived at the doctor's unable to walk, in a very bad health conditions. After six months my viral load was undetectable and high defenses. Now I only need some grain than any other in the face and fear. The fear, though now less or different; five years ago that settled in my life.

  3. It's lucky for me to find your blog. Now I feel hope and encouragement about me.

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