#HIV and #LOVE (My Story of Love and Disclosure)

Love, how beautiful it is! This is so important for people living with HIV/AIDS ... to have someone who loves you and can see you beyond the disease, that is, if they are HIV negative.  I feel blessed that after all these years living with my diagnosis and thinking about the journey and what I thought when I was initially diagnosed (I'll NEVER GET MARRIED), I have been blessed with a wife so loving and attentive to me ... the perfect complement. :) She is a key element in my health, believe it or not! When one is loved and cared for ... The heart and soul are filled inside. You feel happy and feel complemented, all these things make our immune system rise ... And it's not just romantic love, wife, husband or spouse ... it also comes from a friend, loved one ... to be shown the love and caring affection from a friend, family ... even strangers ... people just do not know how important it is to love and be loved for us. My partner, Lisa, would be the first to say that she was part of the ignorance, of course, until I came along.

It is not easy to reveal our HIV status, but I guess I have a method to my madness :) if you want to call it that. Almost all my life I've been with HIV-negative partners ... just one positive and that was my worst relationship ... although we learn from good and bad relationships. My method is to get to know the person first and then feel something deep and then say it ... although now, I am so public that everyone knows and I do not care because this is just a human condition. If you see things are getting deep, and I mean spiritually and mentally, you must disclose and give them the opportunity to choose. It is not an easy thing and I know it's scary! I guess the fear of rejection or that someone who you connect with on many levels perhaps cannot cope with the situation, which is also very valid. My situation was, WOW! I found my soulmate, after all these years ... I feel so much for this person. Now I have to tell them about me! All about me! Oh my God! What if they reject me??? Or stop talking to me?? ... Well, I said, you are a strong woman! Tell her! And you have to feel comfortable anyway! In reality, I revealed everything through chats on yahoo messenger :) lol ... It's easier to be rejected online than in person! Although I am very lucky in these 28 years of living with the virus, no one has rejected me! I have gained respect for giving them the option!!! I have to be honest, I went round and round for about one or two hours until I said:

"Lisa I have something very serious to say about me before we go any further!" Oh My God! I just could not even write the words at that time ... I have HIV.

She replied: "Tell me! I do not care what it is!"

I replied, "Well, it's very serious ..." and I was driving her crazy! Because I just could not say it! I was thinking OMG say it already and get it over with! But how sad to know that we are in love and that could be lost today! So I wrote: "I AM HIV POSITIVE." But of course I didn't hit Send yet! I paused and said, "ok Lisa here goes! " and I clicked Send ... I felt like throwing up in that moment waiting for her response ... anxious ... everything. IT'S NOT EASY!

She stopped for a second and said, "OK, and?" And I said, "that was my secret."

She replied, "I do not care because I love you!" I said "If you have any question, I'd be more than happy to answer anything ..." She replied, "If I have questions, I'll ask you ..." She never did.

That's how our love story and her knowing that I had the virus happened. WOW! I was still feeling that she might feel bad about it and gave her another choice! So I said: "You know, if you need time to think or just want to be my friend I'm fine with that too ..." She replied, "NO! I love you!" Those were the sweetest words my ears ever heard! All my fears are gone! Finally, my soulmate knew all about me ... it was a wonderful moment! You feel so free. :) So we continued talking for hours and hours and she said to me jokingly, "My God, I thought you were going to tell me you were a man, or a murderer, or had given up your children ..." lol ... So this is part of my love story. :)

It has been 10 years since this happened. We are happily married and more united than ever. :)

We recently did a campaign together. "Stop HIV Together" with the CDC and also "My partner My commitment!" How beautiful she is! And because of this, she is being exposed to stigma as an HIV-negative person who is with a positive person! AND SUPER PUBLIC! IT IS NOT EASY BUT SHE SUPPORTS ME ... She does not care what people think! She is only support, compassion, love, and I am fortunate to be part of her life! I said, "If finding a cure would mean I would have to leave you, I would choose to live with you because being with you is my happiness ..." which ultimately is what we as human beings are looking for! Whether heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual ... it doesn't matter ... We all need to love and be loved. :)

And we continue with the same mindset as we always promised ourselves and have said from the beginning ... TOGETHER UNTIL THE END.

Li Laing-Mejia, this blog is dedicated to you!

With all my soul,
Maria T. Mejía