VIDEO: Coming Out as HIV-Positive


For
fourteen years I’ve been living with HIV, but I’ve only had knowledge
of my condition for about three years now. I can’t even begin to tell
you how I felt because I don’t even know. I felt so many things at
once I thought I was crazy. It was so overwhelming to find out that
I was living with something I never thought I would have to live with.
Never in my life would I have thought that I was living with the thing
that everyone was so judgmental about. I knew from the beginning that
I would have to keep this part of my life private because of ignorant
people.


LaShaun Brown, a 14 year old girl from Fayetteville, NC and author of this post, describes living with HIV and wonders what her friends will think when they find out. This article and video, produced by Stuart productions, is part of a special series this week focusing on HIV and AIDS in the United States. See the first piece in this series by Julie Davids and David Munar, The AIDS Crisis in the United States: Wlll the Obama Administration Meet the Challenge?

It
didn’t take me long to accept the fact that I had HIV. After doing
some research on my condition, I decided that I wanted to help others
like me. Long hours of thinking helped me decide that I wanted to come
out about my disease. I know that’s a big step to take, but I have
prepared myself for what’s to come next. For instance, the phone calls
from friends inviting me to the mall or to hang out may now stop.

This
is not just about my friends, but about people in general. When will
we be allowed to be accepted for who we are, rather than for what we
have? My belief in God is what keeps me strong. Without God, I wouldn’t
be where I am today, and I thank Him for all that he is doing in my
life. I will continue to strive for the best and I encourage others
to do the same. There have been times when my head hung low, because
I was uncertain of myself. But the strong support of others is what
helped me to continue to pursue my hopes and dreams.

I
pray that one day the world will see us no differently than anyone else,
and that for once, they can set aside the ignorance, and just accept
us for who we are. I want others out there to know that they are not
alone. They need to know that they can walk with their heads high and
pursue any dream that their heart desires. Nobody can do or say anything
to stop me because I refuse to fail. Humble-Independent-Victorious is
my definition of HIV and this is what defines me. I’m ready, my mind
is set, and now it’s time to go. Get ready because here I come! 

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To schedule an interview with La'Shaun Brown please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • piper-hyland

    I saw your video and I was very impressed by your wise words La’ Shaun. You brought back so many memories for me. I was raped @ 16 and infected with HIV, today I am 33 and have had AIDS for 12 years. I am not dying slowly though. I want you to have full understanding of the difference between HIV and AIDS so you don’t have to be so worried or upset if you do get AIDS. Although I like your thoughts of preventing it! The AIDS diagnosis for me in 1997 was because my t-cells dropped below 200 and that was it. I WASN’T ANY SICKER. I WAS JUST MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO OPPORTUNISTIC INFECTIONS. THOSE ARE SOMETHING WE NEVER WANT! Opportunistic Infections are what kill people with HIV and cause poor quality of life.
    I want you to understand your a brave young women who is going to make such a change in the fight against Stigma.
    Last I want you to know “your are not alone”. I work at an organization called WORLD and if you ever have any questions or just want to talk please call. 510.986.0340 Ask for Piper Hyland.

    Please keep your head up during hard times and work on your future because it is going to be long andbright

  • nelson

    I am in agreement with you in prayer for the world to see those with HIV the same as everyone else. I am so proud of you to be the stand up person that you are want to help others. casino online

  • ldennis

    Ms. Brown you are truly a remarkable young woman I work as a mental health Clinician and many of my clients are HIV+ individuals. They are doing great things with their lives including getting married, having families and going back to school. The sky is the limit you just have to keep focused and surround yourself with people who want to do the right thing. Dennis