VIDEO: Coming Out as HIV-Positive

La’Shaun Brown

I pray that one day the world will see us no differently than anyone else, and that for once, they can set aside the ignorance, and just accept us for who we are.

For
fourteen years I’ve been living with HIV, but I’ve only had knowledge
of my condition for about three years now. I can’t even begin to tell
you how I felt because I don’t even know. I felt so many things at
once I thought I was crazy. It was so overwhelming to find out that
I was living with something I never thought I would have to live with.
Never in my life would I have thought that I was living with the thing
that everyone was so judgmental about. I knew from the beginning that
I would have to keep this part of my life private because of ignorant
people.


LaShaun Brown, a 14 year old girl from Fayetteville, NC and author of this post, describes living with HIV and wonders what her friends will think when they find out. This article and video, produced by Stuart productions, is part of a special series this week focusing on HIV and AIDS in the United States. See the first piece in this series by Julie Davids and David Munar, The AIDS Crisis in the United States: Wlll the Obama Administration Meet the Challenge?

It
didn’t take me long to accept the fact that I had HIV. After doing
some research on my condition, I decided that I wanted to help others
like me. Long hours of thinking helped me decide that I wanted to come
out about my disease. I know that’s a big step to take, but I have
prepared myself for what’s to come next. For instance, the phone calls
from friends inviting me to the mall or to hang out may now stop.

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This
is not just about my friends, but about people in general. When will
we be allowed to be accepted for who we are, rather than for what we
have? My belief in God is what keeps me strong. Without God, I wouldn’t
be where I am today, and I thank Him for all that he is doing in my
life. I will continue to strive for the best and I encourage others
to do the same. There have been times when my head hung low, because
I was uncertain of myself. But the strong support of others is what
helped me to continue to pursue my hopes and dreams.

I
pray that one day the world will see us no differently than anyone else,
and that for once, they can set aside the ignorance, and just accept
us for who we are. I want others out there to know that they are not
alone. They need to know that they can walk with their heads high and
pursue any dream that their heart desires. Nobody can do or say anything
to stop me because I refuse to fail. Humble-Independent-Victorious is
my definition of HIV and this is what defines me. I’m ready, my mind
is set, and now it’s time to go. Get ready because here I come! 

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