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Positive Ministry

Ernest Clark

This Texan found comfort in HIV ministry—and by switching meds. 


Angel Murray is a minister currently living in Dallas, Texas. She’s been HIV-positive since 1993. After a bout of depression and what she describes as ennui, Murray began her HIV ministry. She reaches out to other people living with HIV and is involved in HIV prevention work. “I started traveling and giving testimony and going to AIDS conferences and I found my calling,” Murray says. “I was actually one of the first people in Dallas to get out and talk about HIV. I figured if I was alive, [then] somebody needs to do it!”

Murray has had multiple instances where she needed to switch medications, partially due to a brain surgery needed to relieve an aneurysm she had two years after being diagnosed positive. She found out of her status after a routine doctor’s visit, though she suspects actually contracted HIV ten years prior. Murray was dealing with multiple respiratory and other severe ailments for years, but doctors hadn’t uncovered the root cause. She’d only been tested for HIV when she was admitted to the hospital with a type of pneumonia known as an AIDS-related condition. “If I had been a man they would’ve tested me earlier I am sure,” she says now, looking back. At the time, the public perception was that HIV was a gay men’s disease, when we’ve since learned that black women have disproportionate risks of becoming HIV-positive.

At first Murray was devastated by her AIDS diagnosis. “I was a regular in the ER at that point, and the doctor was so used to me coming in for my back pain and flu-like symptoms, and finally one of the head doctors came in and really did a thorough exam. I was 56 years old then. Now I’m 71 by God’s grace.”

Murray was a widow when she met her second husband, whom she believes she contracted HIV from. “I was grieving big time, and he caught my eye at the bus stop. You know, he looked the part, talked the part, and one thing led to another. Then the day after we were married, one of my neighbors told me I should go get checked out because he had just gotten out of prison and she heard he had the virus.”

Shocked by the news, she laments, “And do you think I went? No. So, I waited 10 years—like a fool, until I was so sick. I nearly died. That’s why I’m out here telling people to get tested!”

After numerous near-death experiences, side effects, and even a bout of breast cancer that later went in remission, she is now on a regimen of Prezcobix and Intelence, and says, “it’s working.” 

Murray also suffers from multiple co-morbidities, including neuropathy and heart issues, and finds the regimen of pills she has to take for all of them is hard on her system. “Some days it’s hard to get out of bed, but then I tell myself that God’s not done with me yet, so I keep going.”

If Murray had one thing to tell someone going through the same experience, she says, “I would tell them no matter what their battle is, that we have a father that loves us and even though we’re going through, we’re coming out, and he’s with us every step of the way. Because the main thing I’ve learned over the years, you’ve got to stay focused on why you are still here. And regardless of what people say about you, there is a reason why you’re still alive. Be open to the fact that you are here on purpose, find out what the purpose is, meditate day and night. [And] be around people that see the light in you and not the darkness that you’ve been through.”

“That, and I’ve found strong CBD oils to be effective,” she adds. “Keep off them opioids!”


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