'I Lost Everything Within A Day' Of Disclosing HIV Status

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I'm From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit archive for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer stories. New stories are posted on the site every Wednesday.

Cody Walker was in a relationship and had a great new job. But then he got his diagnosis that he was HIV positive and he lost everything. Cody recalls the aftermath:

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.

And just when you thought it couldn't get worse, the stigma of HIV continued to affect Cody's life. After moving to rural Mississippi, he was inundated with inappropriate questions about his status and if he's "clean." Within a year and a half, Cody attempted suicide three times until he finally checked himself into a mental rehab clinic. The one thing that finally helped him overcome the situation was going public with his status and confronting the issue head-on. He was finally in full control of the situation, leading to a healthier perspective on life and HIV in general:

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.

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