POZ Stories : Donnie Hamilton

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Newsletters
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
Username:
Password:

Back to home » POZ Stories » March 2013

Most Popular Links
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

20 Years Ago In POZ


 

Click here for more news

 


emailprint

March 29, 2013

Donnie Hamilton

Longview, Texas
Positive since 1995

I was in the US Army when they told me I was HIV positive (on April 13, 1995—Friday the 13th!). I was bounced from unit to unit because none of the units wanted the stigma of having a soldier who was HIV positive.

I went through hell for almost four months before they finally let me go. I served eight years and have all sorts of commendations and never caused trouble. I was surprised at the way they treated me. A female Colonel sat behind her desk all high and mighty and said to me, “Did you expect to test positive for HIV?” I replied, "Who in the hell expects to test positive?”

When they told me, there were six other people in the room, which I thought violated my privacy. I was told to pack my bags, go back home and plan my funeral. As I sit here typing this 17 years later, I am still doing fine. I am healthy, except for COPD, which I got from living in an apartment that had black mold. It caused two lesions to appear in my left lung. It has not affected my HIV. My CD4 count is 896 and my viral load has been undetectable for over eight years!

What three adjectives best describe you?
Determined, stubborn, driven  

What is your greatest achievement?
My military service  

What is your greatest regret?
Not dealing with my inner struggles and becoming addicted to meth...I have been clean and sober now for 7 1/2 years  

What keeps you up at night?
My COPD and coughing at times, but never worries about being positive!  

If you could change one thing about living with HIV, what would it be?
To have a place to live that is mold free and that has only HIV-positive people living in the complex. No one really understands what we go through like others living with HIV.  

What is the best advice you ever received?
That I am not HIV, it is something that I have and live with, it does not define, nor does it dictate my life!  

What person in the HIV/AIDS community do you most admire?
Wendell Hicks. He worked at Special Health Resources of East Texas for years. He is now working in Arizona. I am so proud of him, the work he has done and continues to do.  

What drives you to do what you do?
People telling me no, or that I can't do something.....I am just stubborn that way. After all I am a Leo!  

What is your motto?
Live your life. It is yours to live. Don't let others dictate what you do, how you dress and who you love. Don't hide in a closet, take off the door off and be seen and be heard, as only we as a people can.  

If you had to evacuate your house immediately, what is the one thing you would grab on the way out?
Family photos and my grandmother's bible  

If you could be any animal, what would you be? And why?
I would be a lion, because they are majestic, strong and fast, but have such a wonderful demeanor about them.



Click here to share your story.

Search: Donnie Hamilton, Longview, Texas


Scroll down to comment on this story.



Name:

(will display; 2-50 characters)

Email:

(will NOT display)

City:

(will display; optional)

Comment (500 characters left):

(Note: The POZ team reviews all comments before they are posted. Please do not include either ":" or "@" in your comment. The opinions expressed by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong, which is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by people providing comments.)

Comments require captcha.
Please enter this number for verification:

| Posting Rules



Show comments (0 total)

 
[Go to top]

Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr Instagram
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar
POZ on Twitter

Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Poll
Are you buying holiday gifts that raise HIV/AIDS awareness?
Yes
No

Survey
Smoke Signals

more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.