GA Voice - - Activist In Action -

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?

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