May 24, 2013
Want to share your own "Day One With HIV" story of finding out your diagnosis? Write out your story (1,000 words or fewer, please!), or film a YouTube video, and email it to email@example.com. In the coming months, we'll be posting readers' "Day One" stories here in our HIV/AIDS Resource Center for the Newly Diagnosed. Read other stories in this series.
For me, finding out I had HIV was one of the worst days of my entire life. Here I was, 21 years old, admitted to a mental hospital for suicidal thoughts, and when I felt like I was on a somewhat steady path to stability, I get called into a room with a psychiatrist to tell me I was HIV positive.
I had a huge gamut of emotions ranging from sadness, to hopelessness, to regret, to depression. I will admit, I slipped into a heavy breakdown. Being told you have HIV in a mental hospital is not the easiest place to receive such news. I knew that from that point, I needed support from my family and friends.
I called my brother to tell him, and I received a phone call from my parents later that night. They only reassured their love for me, and that they would be there for me as I started this difficult journey.
I admit, it has not been the easiest, but it has made me a stronger person. The first day of consciously living as an HIV+ man was hard, but each day, as I talked to others, as I sought out support from others around me, and connected myself with community resources, I can say it has gotten easier. There were some rough spots, but each time, I was able to get through them. With each step I took, I felt I was taking charge of my disease. Every doctor visit, every blood draw, every conversation I had with my case nurse and doctor made me feel empowered that I was doing something to combat this.
I now can say that after just two months of treatment, I went from a viral load of 144,000 to 220, and a CD4 count of 227 to 496. It's a commitment every day to my health, but it's one that is worth taking. I am still new at the game, but it's a game that can be played, and played well.
Kyle Martin is a 21-year-old living in northern California. Currently finishing up his school work in English, Kyle hopes to one day become an English professor and writer.