my story

I wish I could say that my story has a deeply romantic, truly meaningful beginning, middle and end. But it doesn’t. 

November 30, 2011– I tested negative for HIV via a blood test. And my life continued.

December 18, 2011– I had intercourse with someone who believed they were negative and there was 5 minutes that a condom wasn’t used. (Not to gross you out girls, but neither of us even “finished)

And my life continued.

January 2, 2012– I developed a fever and flu-like symptoms. After going to the corner urgent care, I was instructed that I need to be tested for Acute HIV Infection. My heart stopped and my life seemed to end.

January 9, 2012– I did a blood test for HIV.

January 13, 2012– I did a confirmation test for HIV.

January 24, 2012– I received the information and result that I was infected with HIV-1.

January 24, 2012– I flew home to tell my mom, stepdad, father, stepmom, & sister that I had been infected with HIV.

January 25, 2012– I called the person that I believed was positive and didn’t know it yet.  (Hard call to make)

January 27, 2012– That person was confirmed as being HIV-infected.

Today… I’m still Josh. I’m still living. You still be YOU!

 

DID I expose anyone new?  NO. (If I had, I would have immediately called them.)

IS my infection a punishment from God? NO. (Get real. Jesus and I are tight.)

DO I have to inform anyone? In Tennessee, only any sexual partner that I may have sexual contact with. Otherwise, I could face criminal and civil penalty.

AM I scared? NO. I’m conscience of this chronic-disease and I’m informed like never before.

AM I dirty? I’ve done some dirty things, but NO I am not dirty before being infected and now that I am infected. So, quit calling positive folks ‘dirty.’ I have always taken multiple showers a day. (I know green folks… hate me) I am clean. I am informed. I am HIV-positive. I’m still Josh.

DO I take medication? Not yet. Not sure when I’ll choose to begin. Right now, my T4 count is high. So no need.

CAN I still have sex? Duh. The disease didn’t castrate me. However, I have to inform any potential sex partner before engaging in sex. Honestly to date, I haven’t really wanted to go down the sex-road. However, not having sex is not a punishment I’m giving myself. It’s a choice I’m making about my needs right now.

ANY regrets? I wish I didn’t think I was invincible. Hindsight is always 20/20. But now, I’m able to meet amazing folks and make connections much deeper than I would have before. It’s actually quite inspiring.

 

 

39 comments on “my story

  1. You are so brave for posting this. My view of you will not change, I think you are a good guy and a sweet heart….. Loves!

  2. Very brave, and amazing story….Life happens but we adapt and move on. There are more things in heaven and earth than you can dream of, and there is always hope. Never give up on life, and never loose your hope!

  3. What an AWESOME guy you are!!!!! I’ve never met you, but I look up to you. Way to take part in destroying the stigma. Knowledge is power. The more people know about it, the less scary it becomes.

  4. I have so much respect for the message that you are putting out. I think this is a great way to get more people to understand how to be real about life. Like you said no one is invincible. I don’t know you but you seem like someone I would like to know. Thanks for the message and sharing your story! Stay strong!!

  5. To one of my dearest friends…I’m proud of you for staying positive in attitude and sharing your story. You know I love you! You were there for me when my baby sister went to be with the Lord…I’ll be here for you for anything you need. That’s what friends do!

  6. I was diagnosed April 22nd, 2007. The day before my 21st birthday. It was a shocker, but I have great support and my family has stood behind me through thick and thin. I love this blog, and I wish I had the nerve to put it out there like this. Stay strong, you are an inspiration to me and many others.

  7. Thank you for stepping out and telling your story!!! You didn’t have to, you could have kept it all private and personal because it is… but instead you stepped out and said “HEY! GUESS WHAT?! I have HIV, but I’m still me mofos!!! Here is my story, please get tested and stay aware!” God bless you and I don’t even know you personally but I’m proud of you and appreciate you!

  8. I found your story on Facebook through a friend who shared the post. I found out I was positive on September 14, 2011. I am still dealing with it. To see you so strong and brave so soon gives me hope. Thanks.

  9. Josh,
    I’m so proud of you for bravely facing this and inspiring others. I know this must be a tough blow, but not a fatal blow by a long shot. I love you for the person you are! You have grown to be a great man of integrity and honor.

  10. Really Proud of you Mr. Josh! You are a brave man! Keep the faith and your head held high! I will continue to pray for you! Stay Strong.

  11. As I read the reply’s left on this site I am sooo honored to say you are my Little Brother :)!!! You are an amazing soul and I love your honesty, courage and selflessness!!! You will touch so many lives with your life and experiences!! I love you to the Moon and back and will always stand beside you!!!

  12. In 2005, my boyfriend called me to tell me he’d been infected. I became numb and cold the next several months while I waited. I had been in the HIV vaccine trials, and I thought I knew everything there was to know about it. But faced with the possibility, I was scared. I was still negative in the end, but that scare made me realize a lot about myself and have even more compassion towards people I care about that go through this. Since then, I’ve seen so many people go through a vast array of emotions, make critical decisions in their lives that destroyed them, and hurt people that loved them when they found out they were positive. I’m amazed at how much grace you have handled this with. Kudos.

  13. Josh,

    I haven’t seen you in years, but I admire what a great person you’ve become. This is a powerful message, and it takes a special person to put it out there. You are an inspiration in more ways than one. I am glad you’re ‘still Josh’ because I wouldn’t want you to be anyone else!

  14. You are really brave to share your story with the world! You are so right when you said you are still the same person cuz no matter what you are still the same person you where before you got HIV…..My older brother is gay and I would love him the same way!

  15. Josh – what happened to you sucks, however your inclination to write and talk about it is so healthy and sane that I know you’re gonna be OK. Keep writing. People need to understand. Keep reaching out – that’s what saves us all. ❤

  16. Josh,
    I was stunned by the news, but that will never change who you are. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s admirable, inspiring, and powerful that you chose to share it with your family and friends
    Stay strong, my friend.
    Tom

    “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”

  17. You, my dear, are nothing short of amazing!! Your story is inspirational, motivating, and educational. I am an experienced nurse and had NO idea symptoms could be present less than a month after infection. As someone that has treated full-blown AIDS patients, I want to tell you: you are not dirty!! You are a hero!! To be so brave to be speaking out and educating others so soon after diagnosis is such a hard thing to do. We don’t know each other, but I am honored to have found your blog via a mutual friend’s facebook post. I think with time, you’ll go viral, Josh. Your courage is too large to be contained among a few followers. You are a true inspiration to the LGBT community and to anyone dealing with a “shameful” disease. You are removing the stigma by being Josh instead of a disease/HIV!! There may be haters that post comments on your blog as this thing spreads (and I think it will; get ready for this!). If you don’t want to tell them to F’ themselves, send me their email addresses; I’ll do it for you!! I am proud just to be able to follow your writing and I could go on and on but I won’t for the sake of space. Just know you are touching the hearts of strangers and you are in my prayers and I will never forget the brave, handsome, young man who is “still Josh” and so very, very much more!!

  18. I love you, Josh….
    Always have and Always will…..I respect and admire you for your honesty and courage!
    Know that I am here for you and praying for you…xoxo

  19. I am so thankful that you are sharing your story. It is such a taboo topic and it shouldn’t be. By sharing this, you are touching lives and showing that HIV is still here and it is closer to us than most people know. People are so quiet about it and I feel that is one of the problems in society today. Thank you for your bravery! You’re amazing!

  20. Hi Josh,
    B Fly told me I should check out your blog. Wow, Courage is the word that comes to mind. That being said, I’d like your help. You’re still Josh and a force. I hope I’m not outing you as a casting agent. I’m old, 57. I’m from your past. I believe your work is superceeding ” disease”. I might want to go “pro” as an actor. I might want someone really good at that to represent me. I’m still Scott. It’s nice to know you are still Josh.
    R. Scott Conley
    731-217-1812
    PS, Directing at The Dixie Carter Center, PAC, I’ve met the perfect 8-year-old girl for commercial viability. Her Name is Campbell Cary. I’ll connect you if desired.
    Onward,
    Scott

  21. Josh,
    I have seen you where I work and I just wanted to say “good for you”, for educating and being so brave to tell you story. It really touched my heart and I just wanted to say you have a great outlook and I certainly hope your story helps others in your predicament!
    God Bless You and Take Care of Yourself!

  22. Hi Josh,

    Greetings from my hometown Helsinki, Finland. I just read your article from PositiveLite.com. I really do Honour and Respect you – and especially your courage to share your experience of this process from the very beginning.

    I was diagnosed hiv positive at 1995 and came out with it imminently. Back then I thought it was the only way to survive. Fortunately I had the best support ever from my family and closest friends.

    During these past 17 years I have supported many hiv diagnosed persons. I find it very important for all of us to give and also have peer support. Seems to me you are very good at giving that already. Hope you get it enough, too.

    Keep up the good work, Champ 🙂

  23. You know what Josh, I have exactly the same thinking as you did, that I thought I was invincible to HIV.

    Boy I was so very wrong.

    I have been advocating and a pusher for safe sex with a condom always, but perhaps on one occasion, perhaps there wasn’t condom used (how could I know when I am not facing the top?), that’s perhaps HIV laughing back at me.

    But you spoke everything on my mind, and you know what? My suspected infection was around at your time as well.. but I only got diagnosed 3 weeks ago when I went for my annual check-up…

  24. You rock Josh. I’ve been positive for over 15 years. Had the exact same flu like onslaught, PLUS the wonderful shingles. ugh.
    Doing great though. Hang in there. Ya’ ever need an old homo to talk to, I’m here for ya’.

  25. I’m so sorry to hear, Josh. But it is so admirable speaking out and helping to make others aware. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re going to hell. As a Christian myself, I can’t imagine believing something so hateful. Keep the faith and I will be praying for your continued health. God bless.

  26. I would be very interested to see you post a close approximation of your conversation with person you contracted the virus from. This is a pretty incredible blog you have created – I wish you well….I’ll continue to follow your journey.

    • That could be cool… Ill check with him to see if he minds me at least revealing parts of that conversation while keeping him anonymous… Thanks for the message.

  27. Josh, I learned of you recently and truely have enjoyed reading about you. You are a true inspiration to many. I myself am a Nashville Cares peep and it is great to see you full steam ahead. It is great to read your stories and be able to relate. My date is December 29. 2011. That is the day my life changed. And now I hope to change others and make an impact.

  28. Josh, you are inspirational and a courageous person, and thank you for sharing your stories with the rest of us. You give us hope and help us to retain our humanity in the face of this disease. Thank you.

  29. I saw your video in a not so great place…I applaud you for recording your day of getting your results. I’ve been HIV+ since 1992 and I just recently started to take meds. You are a very brave man and I can’t say anything less than someone taking that chance to post it on the Web. Glad you didn’t give up nor let it get you down.

    Much love to you Josh!

  30. You handled your diagnosis with so much more grace then I did! You are brave and inspiring and truly an amazing person to put everything out there and put more than just a face to the disease! You are a beacon of hope and strength for many and a fiercly sharp blade striking the stigma that still lingers around this disease!! I wish there were more people like you out there. I have definitely been trying to do my part since coming to terms with who I am , which is really still just John, but you have inspired me to step up my game!! Thank you!!!

  31. Pingback: I’m Still Josh – very good blog and resource for newly infected men « men4mentalk

  32. It’s great to find your story at a very critical moment in my life – got my poz results just before the new year! Ur blog is really inspiring and helpful for guys like us. Keep on doing this way.
    Hugs from Russia 😉

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