First being diagnosed feels like you have been given a life sentence. You feel isolated and alone. You are left within the whirlwind of your thoughts and emotions. It is a mental and emotional rollercoaster of coming to terms with the new reality that you have HIV.

Though it can be seen as a life sentence, in terms of it being a lifelong medical condition, you remain free. This is one of many chapters in your life; with much of the journey, and its conclusion, still to be written. It is a new chapter, and a new beginning, of self awareness, individual purpose, and happiness.

Living with this chronic condition, undoubtedly has its calm waters and turbulent storms; but it doesn’t define who you are. You have the power to chart your course; on your journey through life. That being said, turn living with HIV from a perceived weakness, into a strength.

Recognise it for what it is, but also have the realisation, that it has brought forth positive change in your life. I know this to be true, because I too am HIV positive. With one step forward at a time, let us enjoy this journey together.