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, May 13, 2013

A New Adventure

For those of you that do not know, I have had a boyfriend almost the whole time I have had this blog. We met at an HIV conference that I attended within a month of me returning home with my new diagnosis. I even talked about this conference and new group of friends in my very first posting on this blog (World AIDS Day 2011). And yes, since the conference was for HIV+ people, it is safe for you to assume that he is also HIV+.

Unfortunately we just broke up 2 months ago. Yes, I am okay. We are both okay. We are still friends and will always be a support system for each other. I do not plan to delve more into our personal situation, but I wanted to give this basic information as a prequel to any future posts.

You see, I am now single...and now faced with a whole new open can of potential stresses and dilemmas as I step back into the dating scene for the first time as a HIV+ woman. I know this is an area that people have an interest in and will have questions about. So, I intend to try to keep you up to date on my adventures (I'm calling it that in an effort to keep myself feeling more positive about it, even though I am not).

To give you some foundational information..... I am currently researching in both directions...."poz" people and "negative" people. I have an account on an HIV dating site. And I also have an account on a regular dating site. So far the fishing pool is very limited (and often depressing) on the HIV site. The pool on the regular site is humongous, but terrifying! The fear of rejection is so overwhelming that I can feel myself shutting down and shying away before I even let something begin.

I happen to be reading a romance novel right now featuring an HIV+ woman entering the dating scene and finding love and acceptance from a new (negative) partner....and I'm thinking in my head....yeah, if only it was so easy....

But I guess I won't ever really know until I get some guts and actually try it....

Friday, May 10, 2013

Poll Results

Should Jessica tell her school about her HIV status?

Yes        12  (21%)
No         45  (78%)

A Much Needed Update From Long Lost Jessica

People ask me "What's up with your blog? Are you done with it? Do you plan to keep it going?" Here is what I can tell you all:

I have no intention of completely abandoning my blog or readers. I love having the opportunity to share with people in this way. The honest truth is that I am busy living my life, and have naturally moved on a bit from it all. As I've shared my story and life with the world in the past year and a half- I have simultaneously been working through a barrage of thoughts and emotions within myself. Dealing with my HIV status is and always will be an ongoing process. I know that it will never be gone, but I also know that it will not always be in the forefront and focus of my life. I will have ups and downs. I will have times when it is all I can think (and write) about. But there will be times (like the past 6 months) where I've moved on a bit, where my life has developed a steady rhythm of normalcy, and I've almost forgotten that it's there. My life does not always have to be about HIV or being an advocate for HIV. I am still me, and I still have other parts of me.

With all that being said, please know that I am here, and will continue to be here. Know that behind the scenes, I continue to receive e-mails about my blog that I try my best to respond to. I have done my best to assist numerous people with online and school projects and other requests for advice or feedback that I've received.

More to come...I feel an "up" in my HIV writing on its way....