In 2005, I realised that I might be HIV positive. I had become very ill and lost a lot of weight. I started worrying about HIV. I was scared of finding out the truth. I thought that I would kill myself if I was positive. I thought that it would be better not to know, and every time I heard 'HIV' I felt scared. I did not want to hear anything. I thought that if I was HIV positive, it would be the end of my life. I did not trust any of the counselling services, since I heard many stories of confidentiality which was breached. I did not have anyone to talk to about this, and my life was hell.
I am 38 years old. I am an attorney, living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and about to start my own law practice. I was born in Guyana and left in 1990 for the US to live with my father. I have one son who is 8 years old. I am a lesbian and I've been openly gay for the past 5 years.
I am a young person who is interested in community development, especially working with young people and children. I have done training as an HIV peer educator, and I am working on some other courses in youth leadership so as to become better informed to take up a leadership role. I am active in a few youth groups, and I am grateful for all the training I have received. I am currently working in trying to ensure that orphans and children vulnerable to HIV are getting care. My role models are two young men and a young woman who have mentored me and allowed me to be open with them. I have recognised that there is a need for leadership within sections of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community, in terms of identifying important values so that we could support ourselves and not be self-destructive.