I am 28. White. A Female. And a former Peace Corps Volunteer. I am HIV Positive. This is my story of how a few months, a few people, and a few events in Zambia changed me and my life forever. This is the story of how I contracted HIV and brought my Peace Corps Journey to a crashing halt... and how I am working now to pick up and put back together the pieces of my life as a newly diagnosed person living with HIV. This was not the journey I had originally planned... my path has traumatically and dramatically changed... but it is the one I am on now. There is no going back. There is only forward. I welcome you to follow along with me as I attempt to explore this new life ahead of me, whether you are someone from the Peace Corps community, or someone living with HIV. I welcome your comments, questions, suggestions, and opinions. Let us go forward together. To start from the beginning, click here He Gave Me More Than A Bracelet.

Monday, November 26, 2012

AIDS Response Effort Article

Recently, a reader contacted me to ask permission to use my picture and story in an article that he wanted to write and post on his organization's website. I of course gave him permission to do so. Here is a link to the organization's website AIDS Response Effort. And here is a link directly to the article he wrote about me "Unprotected Oral Sex May Lead to HIV Positive Result".

There are also some interesting comments back to his article and my story. I guess his readers question my honesty and the truthfulness of my story. Some have also questioned how I could have become HIV+ within 17 days of the event, and that I must have been infected prior to that.

In response to these comments/questions, all I can say is:

1) I have always been honest about the events and my story from day one. I know what did and did not happen, and I have presented it to my readers in exact and honest detail. I have presented the details of the events, my sickness, the results, and the conclusions/opinions of my doctors, exactly as they happened. You may choose to believe it or not... but what you choose to believe does not change what happened.

2) I did not have HIV prior to the events I have described. I was tested before going to Africa and was negative. I became sick 17 days after the contracting event. I was sick with Acute HIV Infection or Acute Seroconversion. This happens between 2-4 weeks after infection with the virus. Please find information about Acute Infection here.

Please feel free to post any additional comments/questions here. Thanks!


  1. Hi! I'm a LIFE volunteer in NW and am posting a link to your blog on my own blog; I hope that's ok. I'm really impressed with your openness - you are a true ambassador. America needs more people willing and open to talk about this - dealing with life with HIV, and showing that life with HIV is more than just life with HIV! All the best.

  2. Hi Jessica, it's clear to anyone with a modicum of intelligence that you have always told the entire truth. I'm sorry you've had to see those silly comments questioning your honesty both on this blog and in the article. I think the ignorance of these people only demonstrates how important it is to increase understanding of HIV, which is exactly what you are doing.

    I have been wondering: do you disclose your status to the people you work with, and to the children you teach? If not, do you ever worry about them coming across your blog and seeing your photo? I think it's hugely courageous of you to put your photo up, but I was just wondering.

  3. Jessica, I have followed your blog almost from the beginning and am impressed with your openness and honesty.

  4. hi jess i miss you and support you as always, but people as a whole are pissing me off. do not doubt the validity of someone's story when they are trying to educate and prevent situations like this from others.