I am a 53-year-old white gay male and I have been HIV positive for 18 years. I have been in and out of care during that time. I lost 3 classes of medications because I was not in care. I was dealing with the stigma of being HIV positive, which led me to start using drugs, then eventually harder drugs, including meth. I have been clean and back into care now for 3 years. I am now undetectable. I am a Peer Educator and a voting member on the South Carolina HIV Planning Council. I have been testing others and providing prevention services at Careteam+ for about 4 months now. It was a hard road but I am grateful for where I am today. I realized HIV wasn't killing me. The shame, the stigma within myself was what was killing me, but if my story helps at least one person get back into care, then I am happy.  - Kelly J.
I was diagnosed with HIV in December 2009 and that brought me many fears as a young college student. One fear was that I would have to take medication every day. I could not fathom having to take one or more medications each day for the rest of my life. Could I truly commit to it? Due to this fear I did not begin taking medication until 2013. I was advised by my doctor to stay on my medication and that missing doses could build up resistance to the drug I was taking at the time. I fell out of care because I started missing my doctors appointments, stopped getting my prescriptions, and fell out of case management. I was out of care for at least a year until one of my mutual friends realized that I was not seeing a doctor. He talked me into coming to the center where he worked so I could get back into case management. His persistence is why I am back in case management, back seeing my doctor, and now on medication.- W.H.