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"I snapped this two days after my sixth year anniversary. Someone told me it was not something to celebrate. I told them I was worth celebrating.
When I learned my status, what I knew for sure was that I was not going to be another statistic on some PowerPoint presentation or a number on some slide deck. Nope, not me. I was going to live my life to the fullest and I was not going to allow any HIV stigma to hold me back.
That was nine years ago. Today, homelessness and cancer are eight years behind me. My Sickle Cell is in check most times and just like I decided, HIV is a non-factor in my life.
I’ve had friends and family pass away due to AIDS complications so to honor their incredibly rich lives, I live mine open, honest and fully in control of all aspects of HIV. Not just swallowing a pill and keeping my medical appointments, but always, without fail, for any reason whatsoever, being completely honest about my status at all times. Openly talking about and sharing my experiences so the conversation of HIV becomes as normal as conversations about breast cancer.
December not only marks World AIDS Day, but for me it marks 3,525 days of living since my diagnosis, photographing my 300th red carpet, and my 49th year of life. It represents me LIVING for those I’ve lost and celebrating them each and every day by enjoying every second of my life. It represents HIV having absolutely no power or control over me. It represents my amazing friends and awesome dogs."