My Letter to HIV: A Letter From Terry

Dear HIV,

Two years ago I was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan, bags were packed, had already moved out of my apartment, and visited my family for what I thought would be the last time for at least six months, and then we met. I tried to keep my composure while being counseled about the HIV test that I had taken without worry three weeks prior.

Flashbacks of that day still haunt my dreams, staring out the window at the grey February sky, in a daze while my world fell apart. I had an obligation to my unit, to my country, my parents, family, and my friends. They were all so proud of me, and I felt I had let them down. I cried, but not out of fear of HIV, I knew I could beat you.

I cried because I was embarrassed and I feared the unknown. You see, some days I don't know if I should be mad that I have to live with you for the rest of my life, or if I should be glad that you came into my life and changed my whole world for the better? Before we met, I was careless, shallow, and thought I had this whole world figured out. I admit, you were winning for a time, had me going crazy, losing my damn mind! Now, I have the victory! I'm still fulfilling my obligation to my country here in the states, I'm more physically fit and mentally healthy than I have been my whole life, I am compassionate and informed and I have my joy back. We have a long road ahead of us, but I'm winning this battle now, and forever.