In life, we have a lot of different statuses. There’s economic status, social status, relationship status and the list goes on and on. Quite often, we may be confused as to what our status is regarding one of these topics. But there’s one status in particular that has no gray areas and can be life threatening if you don’t own it: your HIV status. You are either living with HIV or you’re not.*
While it’s important to know your HIV status, it’s even more important to own it.
What does it mean to own your status?
This means that you:
- Know your status at all times and regularly check it.
- Do everything in your power to protect your status and make sure no one else takes it from you. This is true regardless of if you’re HIV positive or negative.
If you’re HIV negative, you need to understand the value of that status and treat it like a valuable family heirloom. At the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to make sure no one steals your status. You can do this by having safe sex with other people who own their statuses, and/or by not sharing needles.
If you’re HIV positive, you don’t have to let your status define you or control you. You can own your status by embracing it and taking ART to ensure you’re staying as healthy as possible. You can also own your status by making sure you’re not transmitting it to others when you get intimate. Being honest, using condoms and helping your partner(s) get on PrEP is a great way to start.
We own a lot of things in life. It’s time we all started owning our HIV status too.
*Some people could argue there are gray areas when it comes to being HIV positive since you can make your viral load undetectable. While this is true (and thank goodness it is!), the HIV virus is still present in the body and would become detectable in the event the person stopped taking ART.