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Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin's HIV Journal


National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine Keynote Speaker Justin B. Terry-Smith
January 18, 2012

On December 5th, 2011, I was given the honor of being the Keynote Speaker for the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine. Before I was going to speak I was so nervous that they wouldn't like me or I would do really bad, but all in all I think I did OK. Keep in mind there were about 200 students and they are handpicked scholars from around the country. Some of the students were all the way from Hawaii and Puerto Rico. These young and impressionable men and women are the leaders that go to school and decide to earn a degree and practice in the medical profession. They were so receptive and amazing.

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HIV Positive and HIV Negative Dating Advice
December 30, 2011

I received an e-mail from someone who is actively dating and I will call him Jay. Jay is HIV negative and is dating a guy name Tom. Tom and Jay have been dating for about two months. Things are going great with both of them but in those two months they have not been intimate at all. Tom has been pressuring Jay to have sex, but Jay has stated that he is not ready. The reason Jay is not ready is because he is having trouble with Tom's HIV status.

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Being Honest Even When You're Scared and Complera Update
December 21, 2011

I've been on Complera for about three months now. It has gotten better for me. I don't know why my viral load shot up and my T cells when down a little before I started this new treatment. When you are public about what you have you tend to not be public about when you are scared or when it doesn't seem like it is going to get any better. I've not been telling everyone that my VL shot up and my T cells went down again. I was scared and all I can say is that I'm only human. I'm human and I do make mistakes. I don't want to feel like I've not been honest, nor do I feel like I should be chastised for not telling all, all the time. But I have to be honest.

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Maryland Renaissance Festival, Prince for A Day?
December 20, 2011

Since I was a little boy I remember a certain John Singleton movie called, "Boyz N Tha Hood". In that movie it depicts a young man and a group of his friends who were growing up in the ghettos of LA. Laurence Fishburne played the father of the young man, who had just been moved to LA by his mother, who is played by Angela Bassett. The thing that stuck out in my mind was when Fishburne told the boy that he was the Prince which in turn made Fishburne the King. He also I believe called their house a Kingdom. When it came to chores Fishburne told the boy, "Right now, the king says it's time for the prince to go to bed". I thought a lot about my own Father and how our house was really like that. I got whatever I wanted as long as I took care of the Kingdom and myself.

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HIV-Positive 13-Year-Old Honor Student DENIED Education by Milton Hershey School
December 6, 2011

A 13-year-old teenager was denied entry into the Milton Hershey School of Hershey, Pa., because he is HIV positive. The spokesperson for the Hershey School, Connie McNamara, has said, "We had to balance his rights and interests with our obligation to provide for the health and safety of other students. ... And this meets a direct threat."

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A Mother's Love for Her HIV-Positive Son
October 27, 2011

Sometimes I get personal e-mails about my blog and I haven't really shared them with you all. But I think I will start to do so, but of course changing the names so that I protect people's identities.

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Complera, My New 1-Pill-a-Day Regimen (and My Rosacea Diagnosis)
October 19, 2011

In 2008 I started my HIV medications. My first regimen was Truvada, Reyataz, and Norvir -- a three-pill-a-day regimen that my body, at least at first, was fine dealing with. Then after a couple of months of taking the medication my eyes began to turn yellow and my new doctor said that jaundice was why my eyes were turning yellow. Jaundice is a yellow color of the skin, mucus membranes, or eyes. The yellow coloring comes from bilirubin, a byproduct of old red blood cells. Jaundice can be a symptom of other health problems. Every day, a small number of red blood cells in your body die, and are replaced by new ones. The liver removes the old blood cells, forming bilirubin. The liver helps break down bilirubin so that it can be removed by the body in the stool. When too much bilirubin builds up in the body, jaundice may result. Jaundice can occur if there are too many red blood cells dying or breaking down and going to the liver, the liver is overloaded or damaged and/or the bilirubin from the liver is unable to move through the digestive tract properly. So because of that I was put on another regimen.

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Gay Men's HIVAIDS Awareness Day 2011
September 28, 2011

It is Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This horrible disease has effected, affected and infected us long enough. If you're HIV positive I ask you to stand tall with me and if you're HIV negative I ask you to stand tall with them. Love your HIV-positive brothers. They need you; WE NEED YOU !!!!! LOVE EACH OTHER DAMN BUT LOVE YOURSELF TOO, WRAP IT UP !!!

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What if Your Food Server Was HIV Positive?
September 6, 2011

On April 8, 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis hosted a national Roundtable on HIV and Employment at which I was honored to testify. Representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission testified as well.

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HIV Profile: Ryan White
July 20, 2011

Ryan White was born on December 6, 1971 in Kokomo, Indiana. When he was three days old, doctors informed his parents that he had hemophilia, an inherited disease in which the blood does not clot. People who have this disease are vulnerable, since an injury as simple as a paper cut can lead to dangerous bleeding. Fortunately for White and his parents, a new treatment, called Factor VIII, recently had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This treatment is made from blood and contains the clotting agent that allows healthy people to heal quickly from wounds.

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Justin's HIV Journal


Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith may be one of the most public African Americans living with HIV: He has his own blog and Web site, and he's even on YouTube. And who can blame him? Only 30, he already has an incredible story to tell. Justin admits he used to live "a very dangerous life," but since his diagnosis three years ago, the former heavy drinker and drug user has turned his life around.
Photo credit: Don Harris


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