My name is Darren Ravenor. I am 45 years old this July. I have 8 children. I’m married and I have been HIV positive for 18 years.
My life is very much focused on family and my responsibilities as being a parent and a husband. HIV is a very small part of my life and it is not something that dictates how I move or how I view myself. I have a very supportive wife. My children are extremely supportive as well. They all know about my HIV status and it has never been an issue for them. My wife and I were able to plan to have our babies safely and of course none of them were breastfed, so thankfully all of them were born negative.
I am a full time dad at the moment. I am not working. I haven’t been working for some time. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis of the spine, which caused a lot of problems for my mobility. That is one area of my life which is very dark. It is very depressing. Especially being an African man, I’ve always been used to being the provider. There is a need for me to go out every day, just to free myself of any pain or burdens or issues. So that when I walk back into my home it’s happy days.
Religion is a very big part in our family. My closeness to Christianity has given me a lot of courage. It’s given me the direction and comfort that I’ve needed during the difficult times in my life.
We’re a fun, fun family. We are always either dancing or singing. There’s a lot of love. We are not short of love in our home.
When I was behind the lens taking pictures of my little kids, somewhat morbid thoughts were going through my mind that if I did die before my time with my HIV diagnosis, at least there would be this album—beautiful pictures to remember me by.