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There are millions of people living in the world with HIV and AIDS. For the month of December, we at IzzSo will focus on the stories of persons living with the virus and how they navigate through their daily lives.

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS if not treated.

But remember, HIV doesn’t have to stop you living a long, happy and fulfilling life. With the right treatment and support, it is possible to live as long as the average person.

There are a lot of misconceptions about what it means to be living with HIV. Ultimately, everyone’s lives are different – how you cope with your diagnosis and how you move forward will be unique.

Read these stories about some people’s experiences of being diagnosed with and living with HIV.



I am 23 years old and found out last June that I was HIV positive. I had requested to have the test done because something didn’t feel right in my spirit. I knew that I worked long hours and stuff. But I knew something was not right and I was not going to stand by me passing it off as another cold. I remember that day very well… I drove to my regular doctor whom I had been going to for years, they had called me in saying you need to come in before the office opens we need to talk to you. When I got to the doctor’s office, the doctor looked at me and said; well everything came out negative except for one test…and I don’t know how to tell you this, but Kirt, you are HIV positive.

I broke down right then and there. I knew my life was over as I signed out of my doctor’s office. I felt the wind move across my skin differently, the sun felt better on my skin than I could have remembered…I open the car door pulled the top of my car and turned up the radio really loud… because that too felt better, the colours of the roads and everything were brighter. I got home change and went to straight to work not telling anyone not even crying all day. I work a good 12 hour shift that day… and the same for four days that week.

I began drinking real heavy, puncheon, whiskey, every night, as I tend to do to cover up anything that I cannot deal with.  I drank and drank and drank until I could not feel the pain anymore. That night we all went to a friend’s house. My best friend knew what I was going through but kept wondering why I could not talk about it with her of all people. Then we went outside and I came clean and cried so hard my eyes were red a swollen. I am on the highway driving home and there it was again I started crying so hard I had to pull over and stop the car, around Couva and calm down. I finally got home after everything that had happen, and I walked in and know I smelt of cigarettes and beer like my mother hates… but I was all heartbroken. My mother comes in and she tells me. “Kirt yuh cannot let this disease control yuh like this.”  That made me wise up…. But it was still hard.

I was totally dead for dating for a very long time. Now all of my friends are back in my life and my family all are aware of my condition, they aren’t scared, they are happy I made the decision to LIVE. My point to this is find some sort of positive support from the time you find out until the time you can rely on yourself. You are not the disease, it is a part of you. You are in control of this. Family are a great support system to have through it all… but if you don’t have that, there are numerous support groups that work with HIV infected persons. I saw the world in different eyes, it has been said that no one can put a price on a life, true in one aspect, but that don’t get the true value of a life until their life has been threatened to be taken away. My HIV case is in its younger stages my viral load is 23k and CD4 is around 520 or so.

I know I have a lot more to go through with HIV. But just remember – trust the people you tell that they aren’t going to judge you, but help you, and be there for you. Life is precious. Keep your head up and realize everything always works out like they are supposed to, and hurt is only but temporary.

Wah We Say: Everyone will cope differently when they learn they are HIV-positive. Feeling sad, angry or scared are all normal reactions. As Kirt has found out, getting support from those around you can help you to manage your emotions during this difficult time.
For more information, the Trinidad and Tobago – Ministry of Health -HIV Counselling And Testing Sites


PLEASE NOTE: These personal stories have been submitted to us anonymously by individuals. Some of the stories have been edited for clarity purposes. Some names have been changed to protect identities.

If you have your own story to tell, you can share it with us here and we’ll do our best to publish it. Your identity remains anonymous.