Lexi Gibson blogs about life with HIV
HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus that replicates itself off fighter cells, also known as the immune system. This replication is stopped when a patient takes daily medication.
My first 14 years of life I was discriminated against for having HIV. Since then, the only place I rarely receive it, is from people behind a computer screen.
Sometimes I get sick longer than the average Joe, which would keep me out of work longer (but remember, everyone’s body is different). It did cause me to stress about money a bit and the possibility of getting fired. But, I always made it work, and I never got fired. I work for myself now, so that is not an issue anymore. In terms of free time, HIV plays no role in holding me back from dating, activities or anything at all really.
“I am open about my HIV status to everyone, and talk about it like it’s the most normal thing ever – because it is”
I have disclosed being HIV-positive to a couple of people I was interested in, and they were honest about not wanting to get involved. I appreciate and respect that. Everyone has different wants and needs in life. I overcame the bullying I faced in grade school growing up by understanding that it came from a lack of education, as well as learning a very important lesson in life: not to take anything personally. What others do is a reflection of them, not me. When it comes to comments on my social media platforms, I ignore their hateful words, and I simply educate them. Leaving it at that. Their words only mean something if I allow them to. I do not send hate back. That will not solve anything. I want to clear the air around HIV, not add fuel to fire. I healed my wounds by believing that I am worthy, and I am lovable. I will not let others ideas of me change my ideas of myself and what I know to be true.
“I have disclosed being HIV positive to a couple of people I was interested in, and they were honest about not wanting to get involved. I appreciate and respect that”
Which leads me onto this: my advice for others who are HIV-positive is to be confident in you! Do not take things personally! Do not assume the worst before anything has even happened. Stay in the moment when disclosing. Educate yourself on the virus, so you can educate others when you disclose. They are not fearing you, they are fearing the virus. A virus that most people have only heard horror stories about. So we must allow others time to ingest the new information we are giving them. My energy will be their energy: if I am fearful while disclosing they will be fearful. If I am confident and speak nonchalantly, they too will feel calm and relaxed. In terms of dating, not everyone we meet or go on a date with is the one. And remember, we cannot control anyone, but ourselves.
“Since accepting my HIV status and following my truth, my life has exceeded any expectation I had ever had. Something that once was a burden to my life, is now the key to all of my doors in life”
Since accepting my HIV status and following my truth, my life has exceeded any expectation I had ever had. Something that once was a burden to my life, is now the key to all of my doors in life. Having HIV has given me direction and passion. If it wasn’t for this virus, I would not be the woman I am today, and I would not have a platform for helping others. I take one pill a day, and it keeps the doctor away. Aside from my normal 6 month check up. HIV does not hold me back from doing anything in life. I work out regularly, I travel often, I make new friends almost everyday, and I go on dates whenever I feel like it. I am undetectable, meaning the virus cannot be detected in my body. Leaving my body in a natural state. Which means, I can have babies without passing the virus on, and I can have unprotected sex with my partner without passing too. Although I leave that decision up to my partner and whatever makes them feel most comfortable. Either way, my life isn’t any different to anyone else’s.
I am open about my HIV status to everyone, and talk about it like it’s the most normal thing ever – because it is. It’s just a virus that can be 100% managed with medication. People are still learning that 🙂 so I lead the way and 99 percent of the time, they follow.