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I was not open with any of my peers, even my high school best friend who caught me crying a few times.When my parents died, I didn’t tell people why either. I’ve also been told that I’m “really mature” and “act older than I am,” which I choose to view as compliments.When I was 13 years old, I remembering telling myself, “I haven’t even kissed a boy and I have an STI.” That’s how the kids in my class and I were taught about HIV, an infection that I’ve had since birth. A bit about me: I’m 24, living in the Greater Toronto Area and a Gemini who works as a freelance journalist. My mother contracted HIV after my father had several affairs, and she was unaware of her status when she got pregnant, gave birth and breastfed me.We both found out that we were HIV positive when we came to Canada in 1995. Over the years, I have learned to accept my status and love myself—but finding partners who feel the same is not always easy.You see, the problem with dating guys my age is that instead of a date, our dinners often morph into an HIV/AIDS Q&A session once they learn my status.The teacher-student situation doesn’t really leave room for romance.
I disclosed on You Tube because I couldn’t fathom telling someone one-on-one at first—so instead, I told the whole world all at once.
I was not ready to trust a teenage boy with that information.