A Life Turned Upside Down by an HIV Diagnosis

Part of the Series Day One With HIV

Angel Stetson
Angel Stetson

The Health Department kept calling my home for me to come in. I was like, sure. But I did not comply. They did not give up, even to the point of saying I can be charged if I didn't come in because I was required by law to come in person.

I finally went, I was so scared. I knew something was wrong -- but to what extent I had no idea.

I didn't know how to perceive myself upon hearing the news. Who was I? What did this mean? How was I going to survive, or tell my boyfriend of eight years?

I went home after a brief meltdown in my car. I was greeted by my 16-year-old daughter at the door. I guess it was written all over my face. As I suspected it showed already. My daughter knew something was wrong or happened while I was gone out. Right away my girl begged me, "Mama what happened? Please talk to me."

I told her. She said, "I love you Mama." She walked me to the office in our home where my boyfriend Craig sat talking with my best friend. She was my rock as I said those words out loud.

My life was forever changed. My boyfriend started talking to others and telling my status. My best friend did the same. I denied everything. I was shamed, treated badly, with violent actions toward me and daily vulgar emails.

I lost hope in life and proceeded to pick up what I could of myself. But shortly after I chose to relapse after eight years clean. Drugs were my answer. My life was now completely, utterly upside down mentally and spiritually. I was emotionally broken.

Today I am nine years undetectable, and happy. A long road traveled ...

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 editor@thebody.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.