The First Few Months: A Transgender Woman Faces an HIV Diagnosis in the Rural U.S.

Autumn Preusser
Autumn Preusser

On Dec. 10, 2010, Autumn Preusser found out she was HIV positive. Almost immediately, she began channeling her feelings of confusion, frustration and loneliness into a blog she created on Blogspot. The result is reposted here in its entirety. It's an honest, detailed chronicle of an experience all HIV-positive people share, and each person goes through in her or his own way: the first few months of learning to live with HIV.

Table of Contents

  • Just Tested Positive (Monday, Dec. 20, 2010)
    "I'm NOT, nor have I ever been a sex worker, escort or anything of the sort. I don't use IV drugs and I'm not promiscuous. Just the recipient of a shit storm of bad luck."
  • Boyfriend Tested Negative (Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010)
    "Now though, I feel more alone than ever. I know how selfish that must sound. I don't mean for it to be. I would never wish this on him."
  • Feeling Sorry for Myself (Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010)
    "I just feel like this HIV thing has isolated me and put me just out of reach of everyone else. ... I just don't feel like I belong anymore."
  • Merry Christmas Everyone (Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010)
    "I've been sort of just pretending that everything is OK. I hadn't realized how much this was affecting me until yesterday."
  • Rough Beginnings for the New Year (Friday, Dec. 31, 2010)
    "I keep telling myself that if I focus on all the things that are good in my life that this one part, HIV, won't seem quite as unbearable."
  • Glimmer of Hope (Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011)
    "That's what it's all about now. Moving forward. It's easier said than done."
  • Rescheduled HIV Doc Appointment (Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011)
    "I really don't know what to expect for this first appointment, what they will do or anything. I hate being in the dark."
  • Doctor Appointment and Lab Results (Friday, Feb. 18, 2011)
    "Overall, my counts and everything are A LOT better than I thought they would be."
  • Starting Meds! (Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2011)
    "The idea of having to take meds for the rest of my life was and is kind of sobering. I deal with the thought better each time I take them though."
  • Med Changes and Hope (Sunday, Apr. 10, 2011)
    "I could be on meds and feel good, we just had to find the right combo. I was so relieved when I realized I didn't have to feel bad to combat HIV."