I disclosed to my family the same day I got my results. Now they refer their HIV-positive friends to me when they need information. “My cousin is also positive, and she’s living openly with her status. She can help you.”

When my son was seven years old, I told him too. We are very open with one another. On Saturday mornings, we have our time where we sit in bed together and reflect on the whole week. We laugh together. We cry together. Still, at times, I feel like there’s too much on his shoulders because of HIV.

After I learned about my status, I went to church and found my true identity, that I am made in the image of God. But my church doesn’t address HIV, although I have fought for years that they need to do something. It’s a no-go zone. Even the Bible says, “My people are perishing because of lack of knowledge.”

A part of me died when I became HIV-positive. That’s the part about being a woman, about being able to have a husband and a fully functional family. But I always remember my aunt who said, “When you feel like crying, cry until you don’t have tears anymore. Then just look at yourself in the mirror, wipe those tears, and move on.” That’s how I cope at times. I cry the pain out and then I wipe my tears and I’m myself again.