Through The Eyes of Chad

My journey living with HIV, Addiction, Loss and Hope

10 Years Ago I Was Diagnosed…

10 years ago today at 11:15 a.m LALGBT Center I received the diagnosis that would be the motivation and the change I needed to embark on a new journey to save my life. I had already taken the first step and been in rehab for a week. The first people I told were the people at Van Ness Recovery House. The support I received from people, I really didn’t know was pure love. While my journey at Rehab was short, it made an impact that to this day I still feel immense gratitude for.

Fast forward 10 years and I am honored to be able to work with some of the most compassionate and trailblazing people at Howard Brown Health providing the same amazing care to people who are going through what I was 10 years ago.

I wouldn’t change my diagnosis even if I could. My life today is so different and so amazing. Life is beautiful and its a journey. My journey isn’t always easy, or without mistakes, but I have learned that I am more than a diagnosis, more than an addict, more than any labels anyone could place on me.  

I still struggle with stigma and rejection now more than ever.  Its weird really, I think because I was in a relationship for such a long time, I forgot what it was like to have others be ignorant towards a disease.  Today, I work hard to not let labels affect me, because I am more than that, but it isn’t always easy.  

With emerging science around U=U (Undetectable=Untransmittable), I hope to see a change in the tide of judgement for all of us living with HIV.  The science proves that if we are undetectable, we can’t transmit to someone sexually.  That is a really freeing thought.  I believe firmly that this will allow many people to feel like the disease is less of a burden to them.  I share so openly about my journey because I know that it might help someone else, who can’t be open. 

Love and Light to all!