Dear HIV,

You will not win. You will no longer hold me down. The stigma surrounding your name will not bother me. I will not feel ashamed, nor will I run away. I take back the power. I take back my life. 
When I first heard your name I laughed out loud. I said it couldn’t rob me of life. I thought I was immune, so I continued to play with fire. I continued to poke fun. I continued to make decisions that would eventually change my life. 
My diagnosis altered my life in more ways then one. At first I thought it was a death sentence. Shortly after I was diagnosed as positive I had two previous partners pass away from the disease. I thought “surely I must be next”. Fast forward a few months and too my surprise I wasn’t sick. 
After the initial shock of being alive still I decided to “get better”. I started learning, teaching, sobering up. I met a man. It was wonderful. I could still be loved. I can still love myself. My value wasn’t lost. 
So this letter is too you HIV. I thank you for giving me back my life. I thank you for making me stronger. I thank you for allowing me to grow. 
As always, if anyone is going thru a situation they would like to talk about, stigma they can’t handle, depression that feels heavier then the world please reach out to me either thru FB, IG, Twitter, or by using the hashtag below. 
Until next week,
PLUR regards,

@hylerturt

Tyler Hurt

#SunflowerItUp

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