Personal Stories

The Latest

Woman speaking to a mental health counselor

A Mental Illness Diagnosis Changed My Life for the Better

After a bipolar-disorder diagnosis, Candis Y. McDow found healing and a renewed sense of purpose through therapy, medication, and writing.

By Candis Y. McDow

The Nervousness That Came With Not Knowing

For these LGBTQ community members, the late 1970s through early 1980s was a time of first relationships and life in NYC and Seattle, set against a backdrop of uneasiness amid rumors of "weird infections."

By Tim Murphy

“Beautiful Men Who Just Didn’t Make It”

Working at Whitman-Walker Clinic in the early 1980s, George Bellinger Jr. was among the first to see posters warning people to be careful and to wear condoms.

By Tim Murphy
Donja R. Love

Respectful Communication Can Save HIV-Positive Lives

If medical providers want to ensure adherence and linkage to care for people living with HIV, they will need to check their humanity.

By Juan Michael Porter II
Juan Michael Porter II

I Am Living With HIV and Nothing Can Drag Me Down

Health, social, and psychological issues pummel people living with HIV on a daily basis, yet our community continues to not just survive, but to thrive.

By Juan Michael Porter II
telehealth therapy

COVID Chased Me Back Into Therapy

It can take a little time to find a therapist who is a good fit, but a good therapeutic relationship can help you turn your story from gloomy to Emmy-winning.

By Charles Sanchez
Black woman vaccine

How One Black Woman Wrestles With Vaccine Hesitancy

What to do if you’re unsure about getting a COVID-19 vaccine? Go to reliable sources of health information, as Candis Y. McDow does here, inviting all to join in on her journey.

By Candis Y. McDow

Dealing With a Lifetime of Body-Image Problems During the Coronavirus Pandemic

A Black gay man living with HIV, Monte J. Wolfe has strived to navigate body shaming his entire life. But since COVID-19 lockdowns began, his coping mechanisms have been strained to the limit.

By Monte J. Wolfe
Raif Derrazi

Bodybuilding and Fitness Helped Raif Derrazi Cope While Living with HIV

Like many people, bodybuilder Raif Derrazi is trying to find balance during the stress of COVID times. His balance just happens to include his social media presence and living with HIV.

By Katherine Abando
HariZiyad edit

Hari Ziyad’s Memoir ‘Black Boy Out of Time’ Is a Spiritual Look at Growing Up Black and Queer

What is the experience of growing up Black and queer in America? Hari Ziyad’s new book Black Boy Out of Time offers a story that is part memoir, part theory, part manifesto, and part prayer.

By Mathew Rodriguez