By Jorge Armando Diaz
On November 1st 2001, was a day like no other. It’s a day I will never forget. Why? Well, simply because it was the day my life changed completely.
I remember sitting in the doctor’s office waiting to receive my HIV test results; and I wasn’t even scared because I felt sure that everything was okay. I mean, why wouldn’t they be, my partner and I had been together for almost 3 years.
When the doctor came in, I just knew by the look on his face that something was wrong. He sat by me, and looked at me and said, “Jorge, your test came back positive.” I was shocked. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I didn’t understand. I began to cry and scream. I saw my whole life flash before my eyes. I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me.
After I grasp control of myself, I drove myself home. I cried the whole way home, thinking of how am I going to tell my parents this. I remember getting home, and my sister was watching some show about the September 11 attacks. I just thought, “GOD I wish I would have been on one of those planes.”
I went on a whole year and kept this a secret. I didn’t tell anyone, except my partner. Two days after I was diagnosed, I talked to him about this. We talked for hours about our relationship and how HIV had entered our lives. Then the truth came out, another shocking piece of news; he had sexual intercourse outside of our relationship with several other males. I was shocked.
My life was just falling apart. I felt betrayed by the person I loved, I felt ignored by GOD, and I felt alone; because I felt like I was the only person going through this. How can this be happening to me. Why? I’ve been a good person.
After a year of depression, and isolation; I began to take control of my life. I sought medical treatment, and even got a job working in an HIV medical practice. I began to take control of my life, and everything around it. On my one year anniversary, I decided to tell my family. Telling my mom, the person who gave me life was the hardest thing to do.
On my second year anniversary of being infected, I decided to tell my friends.
On my third year anniversary I decided to tell the GLBT community. My personal story was published in the BLADE magazine. That same year, my personal story landed the front cover of the L.A. Times, and the Orange County Register, two of the most important newspapers in California. My story got attention due to the AIDS Walk in Orange County.
And now, November 1st of this year marked my 4th anniversary of living with HIV. And I decided to tell my story once again.
My story is not just of public coverage, but of faith, courage, and the beauty of seeing myself go through rough times, thoughts of suicide, and depression. Now, I stand tall, and I feel great about who I am, and what I have gone through. What didn’t break me four years ago, has only made me stronger.
This is my story:
26 years old
Mexican American Gay
I’ve been HIV positive for 4 years this November 1st
College student-major is Psychology
Work as an HIV Case Manager at Delhi Community Center
Live at home with my parents
Reprinted from LatinoLA. (www.latinola.com)