as AIDS awareness week comes to a close, we continue to stand in our commitment to amplify the histories and stories of black and latinx lgbtqia folks living with HIV all year round. it is in this commitment that we continue to build community and serve as a reminder that we are not alone and we deserve a place in the future we are all creating.
the gran varones team wants to share these messages for anyone who may have just tested hiv positive. we know first hand what that experience is like. hopefully, these words provide comfort, encouragement and even a soft place to land. we see you. we love you.
“I know you probably don’t want to hear this right now, but you need to know that your status does not define you or limit your ability to live. You still have the luxury to find love, build relationships, find a career (if you choose to work for whatever reason), and most of all be you. The second you allow HIV to govern your life, is the moment you forfeit your liberty to life. Never allow that moment to transcode into a lifetime of worry, shame, or regret because you’re better than that.”
David Sell, (They/Them)
“You deserve intimacy, tenderness, romance and passion, after a diagnosis. Society will tell you otherwise, but stay steadfast in knowing that you remain possible in a new world of impossibility.”
Abdul-Aliy A. Muhammad (They/Them)
“I wish someone would have told me “you are not a another statistic,” “you are magic, and a diagnosis doesn’t change that. Also it would have been cool to know I was able to still have kids And not pass it along. And that I can still have the normal but healthier living life by reaching undectatable and doing my part to protect my partners.”
Ryan West (They/Them)
“Collecting your thoughts and putting this support system together is way easier said than done, and it definitely won’t be assembled overnight. You may have to acknowledge, work through, and accept so many feelings of shame, worthlessness, embarrassment, guilt, and other emotions that bring you down in order to get this done, but you can do it. And, even if you keep your diagnosis a secret from the world for the rest of your life, please tell at least one person that you trust. If they care about you at all, I’m sure that they’d much rather you still be in their life, alive, healthy, and HIV positive, than not in their life at all, or dead. Share your truth with at least one person. Do it for you. You must.”
Stephen Acosta (He/Him)
“Keep your head. There’s nothing to be ashamed about.”
Rolando Rjay Aguirre (He/Him)