Today, December 1, 2013 marks the WORLD AIDS DAY. As I was writing this Speech I was thinking about why am I doing this? Am I doing this for my fellow Persons Living with HIV and AIDS or am I doing this for myself?
I was diagnosed HIV+ on June 2010. That year has been a rough year for me, struggling to hang on with work while I am away from my family, constant battle with my sexuality & trying hard to live with the expectations of my relatives.
When I was diagnosed, all came to a complete halt. Everything was not as same as it was before. I was overshadowed by complete darkness and I don’t know where to start again with my life or what is left of it. I cried buckets of tears thinking that I was totally useless, I was scared of disclosing my status for the fear of being judged, casted away, or hurt by the people I love and value the most.
The fact is, all my fears did happen. The first person who stigmatized and discriminated me were my own parents along with some of my relatives. It was like every day that I wake up everything just keeps getting worse.
What made me survive was HOPE, HOPE that accompanied me to each and every hardship that I endured. HOPE that shed light and directed me to a brighter future. HOPE that until now I am holding on to and made me pursue my new dreams.
I can say that I am a better, stronger, wiser person now.
WORLD AIDS DAY is dedicated to raise awareness of the worldwide spread of the HIV Pandemic. And I have been an ADVOCATE for more than 2 years now and I have been struggling with what is really my purpose for doing this ADVOCACY. Well for me I only want one thing to happen, and that is to eventually reach the goal of “GETTING TO ZERO” and it starts with spreading awareness. We need to educate each and everyone in order for them to know the facts and correct misconceptions about the VIRUS. If we do that then we can eventually put an end to the increasing NEW HIV INFECTIONS, we can prevent cases of AIDS-RELATED DEATHS by making sure that they are enrolled in a Treatment Hub and seek proper Treatment and we can be able to stop the STIGMA & DISCRIMINATION attached with this Virus.
I finally get it know. I am not only doing this for myself or for my fellow PLHIV’s but I’m doing this for everyone. I am sharing my story in order to inspire them and make them realize that it is really happening and will definitely not stop until each and everyone of us will do our part to put an end to it.
EDUCATION is our best weapon to fight the VIRUS. So let us spread awareness not only today but let’s do it everyday.
ADVOCATE / HIV COUNSELOR / PEER EDUCATOR / HIV +