August 13, 2013
How can you talk openly about your HIV status when you don't even know what HIV stands for? When Lolisa Gibson-Hunte was diagnosed with HIV over the phone, with her mother listening in, she thought the doctor had made a mistake, but she soon found out that she had a viral load of over 100,000 copies/mL and a T-cell count of 115 cells/mm3. Now, after lots of education, Gibson-Hunte has gone on to work for several AIDS service organizations and has even helped establish Delaware's first needle-exchange program.
Like many people living with HIV, Gibson-Hunte's path toward disclosing her status and living openly took a lot of time. Regarding her first steps, Gibson-Hunte said:
I started doing research about what HIV was, and I found out I wasn't the only one living with it. It took me about six months to really begin to understand what I was dealing with.
After her initial research, Gibson-Hunte determined she must have been born with HIV. Read the rest of her story, brought to you by the Black AIDS Institute -- including Gibson-Hunte's decision to speak at her Delaware high school, her marriage and the birth of her son.
Mathew Rodriguez is the editorial project manager for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
Follow Mathew on Twitter: @mathewrodriguez.