Dear HIV

Living With HIVHIV affects thousands of teens and young adults. Between 2006 and 2009, 29,740 teens and young adults between the ages of 13-24 were diagnosed with HIV. In 2009, the young adults between the ages of 20-24 accounted for the highest rate of new HIV diagnoses. Even though HIV has been around in the United States for approximately 30 years and HIV/AIDS education is included in school based health curricula, there are still misconceptions and stigma associated with the disease.

We feel that it is imperative for kids, teens, and adults to have a better understanding of HIV and those who live with it.

Beginning with this entry, the “Living with HIV” blog series will communicate multiple facets of what real life is like for teens and young adults who are currently living with HIV. All of the material was written by teens and young adults living with HIV, and reflects their struggles, worries, and resilience. These entries will cover various aspects of daily life, including school, friendships, and worries about the future.

-The Young Men’s Health Initiative staff

Dear HIV:

  • “You’re the annoying eyelash that I can’t get out of my eye. You’re there, bothering me every second and I can’t see you, can’t get you out. You just keep bothering me.”
  • “I am MAD because you took my parents away from me.”
  • “The medication to treat you sucks, why does it have to be so difficult?”
  • “Go away.”
  • “I don’t like you; no one likes you, go away!”
  • “You know those gnats that you can never get out of your house in the summer, the fruit flies? They’re all up in your business and you keep swatting them away and they go away for a while but then they come right back annoying you? That’s HIV. It’s always there, even if I can forget about it for a little while, I always get sick or something happens and it comes back.”