Living with HIV has been tough especially when your married. I was diagnosed 12 years ago strictly by accident. My wife and I were applying for life insurance and needed to take a health assessment which required blood testing. It was a very tragic and stressful time for both of us. Being newlyweds and having this hit you head on was not just life changing for me but knowing that I had unprotected sex with my new wife and fearing that she too may now be infected was even more devastating than you can imagine. For weeks and months my wife made regular visits to the doctor for blood testing and luckily after it was all said and done she was HIV free but the real struggle was now coming clean on how I got the disease in the first place and the secrets I was hiding. The years before my wife and I met were a very interesting time for me. I did a lot of bar hopping with my friends and drank a lot at the same time. Sounds pretty normal for a single guy in his 20's but I also had some uncontrollable sexual urges that the alcohol only intensified. I wasn't sure if I liked women or men. I was never any good at meeting or talking to women and found it much easier talking to other guys which doesn't mean I was gay it just required less effort.My drinking made me take significant risks. Driving drunk, putting others at risk, starting fights with people. But sex was my escape and it always put me into a comfort zone that I enjoyed being in and never wanted to leave. After a while, my sexual desires hit a low point. I was so desperate for it that I began looking for it and soon began paying for it. May times even having it unprotected. Hookers, street walkers and even frequenting gay bars to find it. This went on for months until I realized that going to the gay bars I was not only finding some nice people to carry on a conversation with but if I was lucky the sex was going to be free and the best part I think was the acceptance. I didn't need to give anyone money for sex, these people wanted it with me just as much as I wanted it with them. I think that was the turning point, it wasn't just about the sex it was about acceptance.

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