My name is Michael. I moved from Liverpool to London in the late ‘80s looking for a different life and excitement and somebody to love. When I arrived, I found it in abundance. It was everywhere.
I was quite promiscuous, and I basically passed on gonorrhea to my partner. So I’d gone to be checked for that, and while I was there, I decided to go for a test and the doctor basically turned around and says, “I’m afraid to tell you, you’re HIV-positive.” My head was so mixed up, I wasn’t sure what was happening with me and where I was going and I thought I was gonna die. I ended up on the streets for a while. I had nowhere to live.
I came across a place called Positive Place. It was the best thing I ever did. They put me back on my feet. Coming out to my family was one of the hardest things as well, ‘cause you tell them basically that you’ve got a death sentence, which it was in ’92. Luckily enough, I’m still here. Managed to see life through and I’ve had such a fantastic time getting here. My family has all been so supportive.
Being optimistic about my HIV has been something that helped me through my life. It has given me the ability to go out and live a fruitful life. If I wasn’t HIV-positive, I probably would have been sitting in an office typing away at a computer day in and day out. It has helped me bring out the creative side out of myself.
With the HIV it makes you different, you become a different person for your life. I do stand out. I’m HIV-positive and I love myself for being HIV-positive. It’s made me who I am today.