I tested positive later, so I had a little bit of a heads up that it could potentially happen. I kept getting tested once a month like my doctor recommended and one of those months the tests came back positive. I was working in an ER at the time and I grabbed an HIV test and went to the 16th floor of the hospital and gave myself a test. In the previous months my STD and HIV tests all came back at the exact same time, but this particular month only the STD test came back. This increased my anxiety and desire to know (my status), which caused me to give myself a test.
Were you always participating in some form of HIV/AIDS activism?
HIV/AIDS activist Brandon Kennedy shares his journey with HIV on his popular self-titled YouTube channel (Photo by Sean Howard) started working with my peers.
At the time there were only a handful of black gay men between 16 and 25 who were open about their status. I took it upon myself to give these guys the disease with a name.
The term “full blown AIDS” is deeply problematic to me.
I am a pro-PrEP advocate. I can’t say that I don’t understand where a lot of the criticism aimed at PrEP comes from because I do. A lot of people who shame promiscuity in general, PrEP just gives them another addition to their list. I come from a sex-positive perspective. I say have sex with who you want, where you want and as much as you want as long as it’s not causing an adverse effect in your life or the lives of those around you.
What advice would you give to someone who is newly diagnosed?