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Character Lessons I Learned While Imprisoned for HIV Criminalization

By Tim Hinkhouse

May 1, 2017

I want to share with you that I have officially been HIV positive for 27 years. I am pretty proud of that. On March 7, it was 23 years since I went to trial to fight my HIV criminalization charges in court. I'll never forget that day and the humiliation that I felt after being crucified in the media because I was an HIV-positive man having unprotected sexual intercourse with consenting adult women.

Just think, if I didn't have HIV then, I would have been just been another young adult male being sexually active with women who would sleep with me. I didn't want to wear a condom before I tested positive for HIV, and I wished I had afterward. I am really lucky that the women named on the indictment never tested positive for HIV, and they are still alive. I won't make that stupid decision ever again to put anyone's life in harm's way if I can get out of prison.

Since I have been in prison, I have learned a lot about myself and other people, which has impacted my growth exponentially. There are valuable life lessons taught in an environment such as this. If you are thinking, "What possible life lessons can he learn in there?" then let me answer that: Taking absolute responsibility for my actions.

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My actions speak loudly to the character I have built myself up to be in the eyes of my peers, staff members, etc. No longer am I the impulsive person I once was with total disregard for any and all consequences. Now I think everything through, playing all the outcomes in my mind first so I can make the right decisions. When I tell someone that I will do something for them, under no circumstances will I break my word. It speaks to anyone's character that they will always follow through with what they say they will do. Having integrity is respected by people who know they can count on you. Who wants to waste their time giving a person one chance after another and always being let down? I won't live my life like that.

I wanted to share this with you all: I have decided what it is that I want to be in the professional world. My inspiration came from Eva Shaw, Ph.D., who wrote a book called Ghost Writing for Fun & Profit back in 2004. Does anyone do this job? Got any pointers?

Check this out, I have all the time in the world to write and complete projects one after the other. I decided that I could partner with a researcher who doesn't want to write or have the time. That's where I come in with my writing talent to ghostwrite. There is no way I'd want to have any credit for the finished product, just a paycheck for doing a good job.

With being HIV positive for so long, I could write about that, which I know a lot about. If you are a person needing your life story told and want to have someone articulate your thoughts successfully so your words will be related to by readers, I hope that I am your man to finish the job. Drop me an email and tell me how I can help.

To all of the HIV survivors, stay strong and stay healthy. I stand with you in your fight to stay alive and live a good quality of life!


Related Stories

Please Sign My Petition for Clemency and Help End HIV Criminalization
The Double Stigma of Having HIV and Being Imprisoned
More Personal Accounts and Profiles of Prisoners With HIV/AIDS

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Tim Hinkhouse

Tim Hinkhouse

I have been HIV-positive for over 25 years and have been in prison in Oregon for almost as long because of my health status and non-disclosure. I'll talk to you about the issues faced by a person in my position along with the discrimination and stigmas attached to it behind these prison walls. I'll tell you about the strength and courage I found inside myself to NOT hang up and let this illness or my circumstances finish me off.

Tim Hinkhouse #7632447
Two Rivers Correctional Inst.
82911 Beach Access Rd.
Umatilla, OR 97882

You can also email me at hi.timothy7019
@gmail.com
.


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