“I Lost Everything Within A Day” Of Disclosing HIV Status.

by cody walker

My name is Cody Walker I’m from Satartia, Mississippi, it’s a town of about 80 people and close to The Delta right outside of Yazoo City. In 2010 I met these 2 guys, Steve and Bob. They were really, really sweet guys, we hit it off really well. I was a house boy at the time, so I had spent some time with them, I spent a couple months with them then I moved back to Mississippi and then from there I moved to Memphis. One day in Memphis I got this phone call out of the blue from this number I didn’t recognize and it was Steve telling me that they wanted me to be the third person in their relationship. So at the time it seemed like a really great idea because these are people that I’ve known for a year and a half now, two years almost, really sweet, nice guys. They were starting a new company that I had previously worked with that was getting bigger. So I thought it would be a great idea to start a career with them. They told me I would have a house, I’d have a work–a company truck, I’d have all of it. They went to work, I went to work, we came home, had fun, it was great. And then I started feeling really tired all the time and just didn’t understand what was going on. So I thought I was homesick. And I hadn’t had an HIV test or an STD test in a while so I was like, “Why not?” In a new relationship it’s always good to get tested. So I went and got tested and found out I was HIV-positive. So when I got back to the house that day, I walked in the door and I lost it. They asked me if everything was okay and I told them, “No, I had gotten a diagnosis that I was HIV-positive.” And there was a pause, we didn’t speak to each other for about 30 or 45 minutes. And then one of them, Steve tells me, “Let’s go outside and talk.” So Steve asked me to go on the patio and we were sitting out there talking, smoking a cigarette and he tells me that he thinks it’s best if I find another place to go. So I was told I had a couple days until I could figure everything out. I mean, how do you figure something out when, first off, you get diagnosed with HIV, then you’re told to get out within hours, then you’re told you’re not going to have a job, you’re told you’re not going to have a vehicle anymore. So all I had literally was the clothes on my back. And I had to find somewhere to move to, had to find a job, had to find everything. But I had lost everything within a day. Six months after my diagnosis, I moved to Yazoo City, or Bentonia where actually my family is from now. And I really wanted to get out because I was so ashamed and so afraid of what people in small town rural Mississippi were going to think about me. I felt nasty, I felt gross, I just didn’t want to be around it, I didn’t want to be in a small town. The effects of the stigma in a small town started to hit me. I started to get text messages on Facebook, I started to get literal text messages and people asking me when I would see them out, “Hey, I heard you were HIV-positive, is that true?” or “Hey, I heard you had this, are you clean?” I’m like, “What does that mean?” And it slowly started adding up. And it got to the point where it was every day someone would be like–I would see people walking and talking and I would think they were whispering about me. Over a span of a year and a half, between a year and a year and a half, I attempted suicide three times. On the third suicide attempt, my friends finally told me that I was better than this, that I could rise about it, that I can’t do that to myself or my family anymore. So that night I decided to admit myself into a mental rehab for 5 days. But I asked for one thing before I was, like, the night of, I asked for one thing before I was admitted: “Could I please just call my mom and post one thing on Facebook?” So I posted that I was HIV-positive on Facebook. I let the world in and told them if they have a question, they can ask me when I get out of rehab. I would not hide behind it, I would not fear from it, I was going to hit it head on. I find it so amazing to be able to put that out there. Because once you put it out there people can’t come at you, it’s there, I have nothing to hide, I am not ashamed of being HIV-positive by any means. We all have a story to tell, but it’s the way you end that story. With HIV, you can live a long, long life and a long, normal life, whatever normal is, you can live a long one. There’s a pill a day, that’s it. One pill a day. You brush your teeth every day, you take your pill. Being HIV-positive is not a death sentence. That’s the main thing, you will live. And there are days where you’ll probably be depressed and upset and angry, but fight. Fight hard.

Cody-Walker

7 Comments:

  1. So thankful for you Cody! Thank you for sharing your story. So many people will have better lives because of you!

  2. Keisha Fielder (shiers)

    Hey Cody, Its good to see you are doing good with everything that is going on with you. You shouldn’t have to hide behind closed doors for anyone. God loves you no matter who or what disease you got. God isn’t going to judge based on those factors. The faith you have with him is what he will judge you on. With that being said, I’m sorry those guys treated you that way. They will definitely get what’s coming to them. I will not judge you. I know how it feels to be judged all through school I was judged but look at me now, I’m not rich not famous but I have my life together and I am happy with my life. If you ever want to talk to someone feel welcomed to contact me on fb, then I’ll give you another way to reach me. I’m here for you classmate!!

  3. Poz 10 years next year. A pill a day, all there is to it! You can do this. We all can.

  4. Pingback: What I Never Expected When I Disclosed My HIV Status -

  5. Regardless of ones sexuality no one should have to bare that burden alone thank you for sharing your story maybe it will show people that we need support systems instead of feeling as if we have go it alone

  6. Hey, loving you always: who you are; how you are; what you are; it makes no difference! Lovely person that you are!

  7. I take more than one pill a day, but then I was diagnosed in 1988. Yes, 27 years I”ve been poz. When they told me, they said I probably would be dead within 3 years. I’ve now reached the point where I’ve been poz over half my life. I still find it hard to believe that people in the gay community are still so fearful and uninformed about HIV. For that couple to treat you like that was uncalled for. I hope you’re doing well and have found someone better for you. Peace, my friend.

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