“I was diagnosed in 2011, living in Silicon Valley, California. So I got sick, pneumonia, and all my doctors had asked for me to have an HIV test because of the pneumonia - high risk. I said no, don’t need it, don’t want it, no. Well, in Fall of 2011, I was in the hospital for a week, with the first couple of days in the ICU. Those first couple days I was in and out of consciousness and when they finally brought me to the regular room, that’s when the doctor came in. He was really matter of fact. Just said ‘Do you know what’s going on? Let me tell you, you’re HIV positive.’ He just said it. How was I supposed to interpret that, right? I was devastated, angry and told him to get out of the room, leave me alone. I didn’t know how to react, I couldn’t be scared, the only thing I could be was mad. And I didn’t appreciate the way he came in and told me. He could’ve had a therapist or somebody with him, but he just came in like ‘Oh, you got a cold.’ I thought that was really messed up.

I had a great doctor in California. She had a lot of HIV patients - positive patients - that’s what we call our community. It was great, but it was scary since I was sick for a long time. I was out of work for two months, but luckily I could work from home, but still that’s how serious it was. So I didn’t really have a support system, but what I did have was my brothers and sisters. Called them up and told them, only because I didn’t know how to handle it myself. It’s twelve of us since my dad was married twice, I’m eleven out of twelve. They were really supportive over the phone, it was the support I was looking for. But for those two months I was really angry. Like I’m not violent, but I would find myself enraged, throwing things, my collectibles. It was hard.” (1/4)