POZ Stories : Gregory Valdez

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September 13, 2013

Gregory Valdez

Antioch, Tennessee
Positive since 2013

Four months ago my life turned upside down. I couldn't eat and was losing weight. Being a guy, I just brushed it off until my mom stopped by one day. She took one look at me and rushed me to the hospital. I thought it was just mom being mom.

I was in hospital for week and two days before I was told I had HIV. I looked at my partner and my mom and cried. I was on death’s door and didn't realize it. They didn't detect the virus in the early stage. I was so far gone that it wasn't fun. I lost 30 pounds. My CD4 count was 17 and my viral load was in the millions.

After they told us my partner got tested. I’m glad to say he negative but our relationship is rocky right now—we take it one day at a time.

I have to take 11 pills every day until my immune system is built back up. It’s sad that I was diagnosed with AIDS before HIV. I know I can get my CD4 count up but it’s going take time. It’s hard thinking that it’s only been four mouths because I’m struggling so much with this. I just have to take it one day at a time.

What three adjectives best describe you?
Dedicated, loyal, charismatic

What is your greatest achievement?
I quit doing drugs

What is your greatest regret?
I stared doing drugs

What keeps you up at night?
Stress. And not knowing what’s going to happen in the future

If you could change one thing about living with HIV, what would it be?
The meds

What is the best advice you ever received?
Get to know yourself

What person in the HIV/AIDS community do you most admire?
It’s not person—it’s the AIDS organization, Nashville Cares

What drives you to do what you do?

What is your motto?
Don't look back

If you had to evacuate your house immediately, what is the one thing you would grab on the way out?
My dogs

If you could be any animal, what would you be? And why?
A monkey—they let loose and have no cares in the world

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