Wanona Thomas

Source: The Well Project / Wanona Thomas

This post originally appeared on A Girl Like Me, a blog for women and girls on The Well Project, and is part of collaboration with HelloBeautiful for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

I have been positive for two years now and public for one. See, I exposed my status on Facebook live and I went viral, literally.

I exposed myself because I felt like I was hiding, hiding a part of me all because I only had some basic knowledge and false myths about HIV/AIDS. I feared people were going to treat me differently like I was nasty and contagious.

After soul searching and realizing who I am—which is a very outspoken, loud, unique individual—the incident presented itself to cause me to say “ Fu** It” and I chose to live in MY truth.

That incident then lead me to let my family friends and associates as well as strangers know so they could eliminate themselves and any fake love if my status was an issue. I wanted to get rid of all the fakeness at one time and out the gate in case it ever was a chance they found out from someone other than myself.

Now I embrace my trial and test that came along in this life changing diagnosis because I turned it into a TESTIMONY! I turned a (H)avoc (I)nto (V)ictory to let people know HIV doesn’t define me, I define what living with HIV looks like and that I am still beautiful, worthy and deserving.

Now, here’s where you come in.

To be updated on the new information regarding HIV/AIDS is a MUST in my book. I truly believe those that are still passing away and taking their own lives are doing so due to the horrible and horrific stigmas wrapped around this diagnosis, so stigma is the real true killer of HIV.

If everyone had the knowledge and understood that treatment really works like U(undetectable) equals U(untransmittable) than they would know people like me are of no threat to them and that and even if not infected they are affected! We can still date negative status people and one major mind blowing things is we can conceive children and the child and negative partner remains just that NEGATIVE with modern medicine now.

I know, mind blown!

But this information has always been out there. This is why the Black community needs to know these things because we make up the majority of those newly diagnosed each year. We need to know about all the prevention methods like the pill on the market called PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) also known as Truvada.

Have you ever heard of PrEP?

Here’s the thing, HIV this is not a gay men disease, nor does HIV have a look.

I truly advise protection and prevention becoming your best friend. No matter how long you have known a person, love them or think you are in a monogamous relationship including marriage.

You can not afford to put your well being and health in the palms of someone else’s hand.

You are responsible for YOU at all times. No one will or should love and care for you like you do, keep self-love first.

So I say all that to say “GET TESTED” and stay tested because it’s better to know and take control than to let the unknown rob you of time no one is promised. LIVE IN YOUR TRUTH and yours only and watch how bright you shine once you remove all the rubbish that is dimming your light.

Anything and everything is worth overcoming if you choose to LIVE! #LIYT

The Well Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to change the course of the HIV/AIDS pandemic through a unique and comprehensive focus on women and girls. Visit their website, www.thewellproject.org, to access fact sheets (English and Spanish), blogs, and advocacy tools, and to join a global community of women living with HIV.

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