Posts in HIV
The Fragmented Musings of Aging With Age

I have survived being abused as a child. Physically by my father in the form of discipline because that was all he knew and called it love and sexually by a teenage cousin exploring the surge of testosterone while taking advantage of a younger cousin who was sensitive and “ different.” I don’t feel mentally or emotionally burdened by either situation.

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Pearls

In my walk from young adulthood to now, I’ve learned a lot about myself. Before landing in Washington, D.C. 24 years ago in 1995, no one told me how challenging that phase of life would be as I came to grips with accepting my sexuality, which was anything but a straight line.  I had no roadmap to figure out what was happening or how to navigate any of it. Back then, any literature that was black, gay adjacent that I could get my hands on, I read. It wasn’t until I discovered the works of E. Lynn Harris and James Earl Hardy that some of what I had been carrying around regarding my sexuality started to make any kind of sense. As liberating as that felt, it was also terribly confusing.

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I Found My Purpose While Aging With HIV

There is something about the age of 50 that changes you. For some, there is dread and a sense of disappointment with the lack of accomplishment. While others are motivated to begin living their lives with a sense of purpose. For me, it was a little of both.

I reached the age of 50 on September 17, 2007. I was well into my career in IT and 10 years into my relationship with my now-husband, Stewart. I began feeling anxious; material possessions, a beautiful home, a stable relationship, and an active social life were no longer enough. I needed more, I was at the beginning of a journey. A journey to find my purpose. A dream that is just being implemented today.

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That Day

Thinking about what I would write when speaking about HIV and aging for me has been a journey of self-reflection. I can't acknowledge all I have been through without genuinely reflecting on “That Day”  I was diagnosed. You see, I never thought I would make it to 25 years of age. I truly thought my life was over, and there was nothing left to do but wait for my inevitable death. For three years after my initial diagnosis, I lived to die.

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Survivor's Remorse

It was New Year’s Eve, 1995. Essex Hemphill, Easy-E, and Glenn Burke had all died of complications from AIDS in the past few months. A shadow of death was all around the Bay Area. Still, life went on, at least for some of us in San Francisco. A few friends had gathered in an apartment to wrest whatever happiness we could from an end of the year celebration.

We later discovered that 1995 was the peak for AIDS-related deaths in the U.S. It claimed over 41,000 Americans that year. 

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