My name is Michael L. Frazier. I was born 11 weeks premature and had two complete blood transfusions. Before the ’80s, blood was not screened for HIV. I knew growing up that I was a sickly child. I had multiple health issues. I had a low white blood cell count. I also had two bone marrow procedures because the doctor thought I had leukemia.

In 2004, I was notified that I might have given someone an STD [sexually transmitted disease]. I went to get tested. I couldn’t help feeling that something was wrong. Weeks later, the doctor’s office called me to come in, and the doctor informed me that I was HIV positive. I didn’t really understand what it meant and was left with a lot of unanswered questions. I went out to the car where my mother was waiting and told her the news.

I returned home and went into my room. Depression set in. As I sat on my bed, I wrote out my funeral arrangements.

Later, my uncle called and spoke these words of encouragement to me: “You shall live and not die, but you shall live to declare the works of the Lord.”

In my darkest hour, the sun shone. Ever since, it has been my mission to help others while finding the light that’s deep inside of me. I became an advocate in my community to help others find their light as well. Allowing me to be a voice for people in similar circumstances. I believe that you don’t have to wear HIV as a name tag. Yes, you have HIV. However, it doesn’t have you!

What three adjectives best describe you?

Outgoing, compassionate, caring.

What is your greatest achievement?

Telling my story in front of a group of people for the first time.

What is your greatest regret?

Not being able to reach enough people.

What keeps you up at night?

Not enough time in a day.

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

How newly diagnosed people can get help to live with HIV.

What is the best advice you ever received?

“Never give up,” and “It’s not over.”

What person in the HIV/AIDS community do you most admire?

In 2005, I met a wonderful man who made a strong impression in my life.

What drives you to do what you do?

Helping people understand they are not alone.

What is your motto?

I have HIV, but HIV doesn’t have me.

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

Travel bag.

If you could be any animal, what would you be? And why?

I would be an eagle. They can fly very high, and they can live alone.