It has been a little over a decade since an uninvited guest decided to come into my life (well I had a role in this), he has never left and will be here till I take my last breath.
A conversation at the office made me realise that actually I even forget that this “guest” is with me every day. Ironic isn’t it because for the past decade every day I have to take antiretrovirals in order to suppress it.
How can this be possible? I was 26 when I was diagnosed with HIV and today I’m 38 and still the same crazy, strange, skinny gay guy I’ve always been. It all comes down to the decision I made on that June afternoon years ago; that I am not going to allow HIV to be a determining factor in my life. Like come on, this is my show and I am the solo star “geddit”. There is no way I am going to allow something that needs me in order to live to take control and steal my spotlight.
Its not like I don’t think of HIV, come on I hear the bugger mentioned every day of my life because I work in the Health and Human Rights field, do trainings and workshops on this. But still it is not one of the things I obsess over. Its a virus, I am human, it has killed people and very real. But there is no way I am allowing that to happen to me.
My life is my life HIV or not, I am in control. Some people have said they find it strange that I am able to separate my HIV related work, living with HIV and my existence on earth. I wish I knew how I am capable of doing this. Honestly there is no secret or fomular to this; I just decided to live my life.
Before my diagnosis I was into fashion, media and the arts, what has changed? The answer is NOTHING. Okay I might spend the whole day reasearching, talking, giving advice and training on HIV. Thats the only time this virus is in my mind. Come knockoff time; I’m listening to music, reading fashion blogs and magazines or “plotting” as to how I am going to change and improve my living space, wardrobe and hair or what gadget I would like to add to my ever growing collection. Come on, this is who I am. I not HIV, so why must it be the main thing in my life.
I’m no Super Hero. I am Luckyboy Phoenix Edison Mkhondwane, well I happen to live with HIV but it is not the most important thing in my life. I live, I breathe and I am proud of who I am and I approve this message as I “keep on swimming” 😉