August 21, 2013
Venton Jones was diagnosed with HIV at a very inopportune time: He had only been out as gay to his family for a few months, and after his coming out, "HIV was what they expected." Also, after suffering from a seroconversion flu, but testing negative, he was given a positive result at a mandatory Army physical just before departing for military training.
Immediately after testing positive, he also went through a breakup, and recalls, "He suggested I knew I was HIV positive when I got into the relationship, which wasn't true." Needless to say, the overwhelming amount of life events made him uncomfortable with the topic of exposure, and he only became comfortable speaking about his status after four years of being positive.
When he made a move from Dallas to Washington, D.C., in 2011, Jones made a big decision:
"I decided that the shame of disclosure would be something I would leave in Dallas," he says. "I decided I was going to be my authentic self, and HIV is a part of me."
To read more about his story, please head over to the full profile at the Black AIDS Institute.
Mathew Rodriguez is the editorial project manager for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
Follow Mathew on Twitter: @mathewrodriguez.