I have never tried to find out how I became HIV-positive. You know why I never wanted to find out? Because that would have made me an angry and mean person for sure.

I am the father of five children. I have known my status for ten years. HIV is in my blood, I deal with it. In 2014, AIDS should not be such a destroyer, it should not give us this much trouble. The stigma that we are subject to within our families is the hardest. My father humiliated me in my own house. Worst of all, he did not even do it face-to-face. He called me on the phone and said, “Don’t call me again. All I owe you now is a coffin.” And from that day on, I have never spoken with my dad again.

I remember my friend Robenson telling me that he was afraid of me. He was afraid to shake my hand, he was even afraid to walk next to me. Today, he is in my house, eating with me. We are eating off of the same plate, drinking from the same glass. I know that I am HIV-positive. I know how to protect myself and protect others. Today I can remove that veil, and tell other people like me, who continue to hide behind a veil, “It’s time to break the chains.”