Carmichael, California

Positive since 2010

I went to a party in December 2009. I was drinking and having fun. I made the mistake of leaving my drink on the table as I went to go use the restroom.

I came back and took a big sip. A few minutes later, I started to feel dizzy. I got up to leave. My legs felt weak, and I had a hard time thinking and walking.

I felt hands on my back pushing me into a room. I was raped by three men that night. When they were done, I grabbed my clothes, climbed out the window and ran to my car.

I was getting ready on April 19, 2010, when I got a call from my doctor. I went to see her, and she sat me down and told me about my status. I was stunned. I cussed and heard ringing in my ears. I walked over to the mirror crying. I saw myself differently after that. I lost my job, friends and family from disclosing my status.

I have had a hard time keeping a job since then. I have been bullied. People have tagged my car and house and thrown rocks at me as I walked down the street. I have been spit on and cussed at. I have gone on many dates only to be laughed at, teased and dumped immediately.

What three adjectives best describe you?

Brave. Compassionate. Determined.

What is your greatest achievement?

Changing the way my friend’s 4-year-old girl feels about having crossed eyes like me.

What keeps you up at night?

Hurting the people I love the most.

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

Everyone with HIV would be able to work and live without stigma.

What is the best advice you ever received?

Impeccable with your word. No assumptions.

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

Harvey Milk because he stood up for what he believed was right.

What drives you to do what you do?

I always search for the unknown.

What is your motto?

Have an attitude of gratitude.

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

My mom’s ashes.

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

I’d be a giraffe because they are very different and family-oriented.