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My viral load (i.e., the amount of HIV cells in my body) is undetectable.
That’s not always the case for everyone who is HIV positive, but it is the case for me.
The idea seemed unattainable, and to be honest, a bit scary.
Disclosing my status would mean disclosing my mother and father’s statuses, and I would never do that.
When we went out for lunch later that week, I shared that I wasn’t just a volunteer but was also HIV-positive. He had never met someone living with HIV (that he knew of), but I ended up playing the role of advocate instead of romantic interest.
He started asking questions about how I got it, about my most horrifying disclosure stories and any recent advances in medicine that might help me. I felt like I should give him a pop quiz afterward.
I disclosed on You Tube because I couldn’t fathom telling someone one-on-one at first—so instead, I told the whole world all at once.
My teen years were a bit different than my classmates’ because, on top of my studies, they also included travelling to England to bury my father and caring for my mom, who was in and out of the hospital and passed away in 2012 from cancer.
Between dealing with all these “adult things,” dating was far from my mind.
I often get asked questions like: Long story short, no.
I saw the pain and blame my mother had for herself, and even though my father and I had a strained relationship for reasons beyond HIV, he never intended for things to go this way. If you Google my name, it’s not hard to find out I’m HIV-positive.
I have a great infectious diseases doctor who is always willing to have conversations with my partners and to make sure we are taking the right precautions. The truth is, I’m basically just like any other 20-something in Toronto. The only difference is that while some people might have an ex that they’re worried to bring up, or some family drama they are afraid to delve into during those first few dates, I have those things HIV.