A few years ago, I discovered Exaequo through a « Let’s Talk » event on the undetectable status. I got invited by a friend and couldn’t stay quiet because I was fed up with everyone’s negativity. After the event, Exaequo asked me to volunteer and spread my message and I was happy to join them! Since then, I talked about my experience and how life could be when you’re HIV positive.
I’m almost 30 and came out very openly at 14. I am thankful for the parents and family I have, because they have always shown acceptance of whom I am and made my coming out as easy and natural as if I were talking about a very mundane matter. Of course, not everything was that easy, specially at school, but not really because of homophobia, but because my best friend I had a crush on told me he hoped I had no feelings for him because he wasn’t gay. Aside from that « tragic » event, I never truly experienced homophobic acts or aggression, except perhaps for the all-too-ordinary random insults in the streets.
At 19, I got detected HIV positive while undergoing a routine blood test. I kept it for myself at first, as I wanted to gather as much information as possible in order to explain all aspects of it to my family. They handled it pretty well and support me ever since.I met my boyfriend not so long after that – and I am proud to tell you that we will celebrate our 10th anniversary this summer !
Back then, when we met, he was scared at first. The information he found helped him deal with it and understand what the risks were. However, when it came to sex, condoms were mandatory, of course, and it seemed it were going to be for our entire sex life. Fortunately, the « undetectable status » changed everything a few years ago : we now had proof we could have a thriving, condom-less sex life with no risk of contamination. It was a big deal !
Thanks to Exaequo I am able to help my community through different projects. The « TTBM » project, giving recommendation on gay/sero-friendly doctors, but also doing workshops with medical professionals (doctors, nurses, etc.) aiming at helping them understand how they can welcome LGBTQI+ people and their needs. I am also part of the Tea+ project, which is an HIV+ group organizing events, as well as sponsorship for HIV+ guys who are in need of ears, support and examples of how life goes on despite the contamination.
In short, I think I have a great life, a nice work, many projects and an excellent health, and I want people to know that it is a reality too. I know some gays are struggling with their sexuality, some endure rejection, some struggle with drugs or depression, some others have problems with HIV. But life is also about all the rest and I don’t know a single person on earth who doesn’t struggle with problems of some sort at some point. I think it is important to show people life can be pretty nice when you are gay and positive in 2019.