Louis is a survivor of 28 years. He describes himself as “laid back, mellow, and walking through life with a smile, it’s all good.”
You’ve got choices… I got a thing about clouds. I love clouds. They represent your mood when you’ve got HIV. You are going to have good days and you’re going to have bad days. You’ve got choices. How are you going to get through this day? The fight is never over and never will be. I look at clouds and I say they’re still beautiful. Just because it’s ugly outside it shouldn’t change your mood. They are there, so how are you going to treat your day? Are you going to stay in and be covered up and be angry or you going to get out there and fight and enjoy it and be thankful?
Building yourself up… You’ve got choices. Either you’re going to remain the same or get some help and build yourself up. It takes progress as you can see. It takes time. I’m 28 (years living with HIV). You’ve got to start somewhere. You’ve got to get help from people. You’ve got to put the foundation in place. It takes a lot of people to help you.
Life, Love and Pain… When I was positive I never sought therapy. It was ‘89 but I started journal writing. I did that because at the time I didn’t do therapists. I didn’t do therapy and I was always to myself. So, to express myself I wrote. And I still do to this day. I guess the stigma if you’re going to get through things that is the best way to get through. I wrote from my heart. It was therapeutic and it still is. When I learned I was (positive) I made that decision right away – I’m going to live. I’m going to fight this.
Support… It’s not just the gay community. Even with my family I get much love from the bars and stuff. When I told my family they were all supportive. They didn’t care. They loved me regardless. My father before he passed away he couldn’t accept I was gay. Mothers somehow they know their children. Fathers live in denial. They don’t want to see that. They don’t want to hear it. I had a tough one with my father. My whole family was cool. They said, “keep living and take care of yourself.” They don’t treat me no different. They aren’t standoffish or anything.
I can get through it… I chose Whitney to say you can get through anything. She went from this great person, she went down with drugs and stuff. I’d say God showed himself at the end of her career. He brought her back, but she still passed on. It was showing that you can get through anything, whatever God you worship.
The song I listen to is I didn’t Know My Own Strength. It was a personal testimony to me. I didn’t know I would live for 28 years with this disease and I’d still be okay. Through God’s strength I made it through. I listened to that song and I get emotional. That tells my life. When she passed it crushed me. I saw what God was doing. If God can do that for her he can do anything. With our health, it’s in his hands. We’ve just got to take our meds and we’ve got to live. God knows when it’s our time to go. She was a personal light and she still is.
They ain’t going to look down on you… It’s saying you ain’t got no shame to come here and get your meds. You ain’t going to be looked upon. I guess they’re just trying to say they’re friendly. I was like, was it really necessary? If that is the case do it in all pharmacies. You’re making a bold statement. I think it’s a good thing in a way because you can go in there with confidence as a gay man and they ain’t going to look down on you. I don’t know if it’s a stigma but they should be doing it everywhere. It should be friendly everywhere. Every pharmacy you go to you should have some sort of comfort because you’re going to get your meds.