I never expected when growing up on a rural farm in middle Tennessee, that I would someday become the face of an epidemic that infected and killed millions around the world. AIDS did not happen to folks like me.
On October 24, 1991, I learned that I was infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. It would set me on a journey that would put my life on display, and would give me a voice, and a voice for so many, who had died in shame and silence.
World AIDS Day, 1994, I made news, as I became the first person in the rural area where I lived, to announce that I was living with HIV. Not knowing what reaction I would get, I entered uncharted waters.
All these years later, I am still alive, even though my initial prognosis was about 5 years. I never expected to still be alive in 2020. Yet here I am.