The Tales of Triumph series is one of our favorite things to put together at Positive Peers. We sit down with real people and listen to their HIV stories, taking in the good and the bad. Their bravery and willingness to share is a massive inspiration for us and, we hope, also for you.
Each storyteller is doing something incredible when they pull back the curtain on their unique experiences of living with HIV. Everyone has a different tale to tell and hearing theirs can help us realize there’s a bright future ahead, no matter what stage of the journey.
Let’s take a look back at some of the incredible Tales of Triumph from 2022.
HIV Stories: Grace
Grace has had HIV since she was an infant, a fact that was kept secret from her throughout her childhood. Her story has been one of discovery, setting out to receive a diagnosis, overcoming feelings of being shunned by her family, and finding a community to call her own through the Positive Peers app. Grace now has the support she needs to live her life to the fullest.
“When I found a group of people with whom I could share my experience, that had their own experiences to share with me; it made me feel like I belong somewhere.”
HIV Stories: Ke’Taryn
Ke’Taryn is determined to turn her past hardships into good for others. She’s already triumphed over so much in her life, coming out as transgender at sixteen years old and receiving her HIV diagnosis in her early twenties. Today she wants nothing more than to work in the HIV field, help those in the LGBT community, and one day become a social worker aiding those that have gone through what she has.
“You have to love yourself first. Once you love yourself, you'll see that other people will love you, too.”
HIV Stories: Bradley
Bradley was only 17 and already living alone when he received his diagnosis. He remembers an overwhelming sense of confusion. Everything was overly complicated and terrifying, as he had to research for himself what living with HIV meant for his future. Then Public Health called and found a provider for him. They got him into treatment the very next morning and were able to fill in the gaps of his knowledge.
After that, everything started clicking into place. Bradley is now 18 years old and has an incredible life ahead of him, filled with ambition, compassion, and a drive to help others.
“Whatever stage people are at in life, there will always be people that are supportive and loving. You just have to look for them, and they’ll be there.”
HIV Stories: Samuel
Samuel was in an explorative stage of his life when he contracted HIV. "I felt confused. I felt frozen.” Feelings of depression and intense anxiety are common for those receiving an HIV diagnosis, and they can be particularly fierce for someone so young.
Luckily, Samuel was able to receive the help he needed. He checked himself into a mental health hospital and was soon transferred to a program where he could receive support on his journey. Today, Samuel has benefitted from therapy and is fully committed to improving his mental well-being, combining it with hobbies like exercise, art, and listening to music.
"The best thing that's happening for me right now, as a person with HIV, is starting to acknowledge the positive and having compassion for myself through hardships and pain.
TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, SEXUAL VIOLENCE
Your Tale of Triumph
It can be challenging to live with HIV, but knowing you’re never alone makes all the difference. Whether you’ve only just been diagnosed or have had a lifetime of living with HIV, there are new friends out there waiting to hear your story.
Why not reach out through the Positive Peers app, and find people that will support you and celebrate you? Learn more about the Positive Peers community here. It's simple, safe, and discreet.