By: Steve Addona

“Join me on Saturday, October 14, 2017 as we, the members of RE-START, march with PRIDE announcing to Orlando and the world that we are strong, healthy and living with HIV!”

There is a virus inside of me. The virus is HIV. My virus is undetectable, therefore it is uninfectious, untransmittable. Also inside of me, and much stronger than my virus, is a sense of pride; pride in being a man, a man who has survived one of the worst pandemics ever endured by the human race. For 3 decades, I watched as most of my buddies, my peers, my lovers fell sick, experienced the painful effects and finally lost their lives to complications, once inevitable, that are associated with HIV.
Today, we celebrate a new day in our fight against this virus; for today, we have highly effective medications that virtually render the virus undetectable, untransmittable.
Today, HIV is a very managable affliction. Together with taking my antiretrovirals everyday, I adhere to regular visits to my health care provider, I maintain a healthy diet, I exercise, I don’t smoke and I don’t use recreational drugs. With the exception of taking antiretrovirals, I would do all these things even if HIV wasn’t living inside of me. The best thing I have done to combat my virus is to educate myself on how HIV enters the body and attacks the immune system. Once in denial, I now celebrate my status, and that strong sense of pride that dwells so deep inside of me is what, I believe, to now be infectious. So I implore you my brothers, my peers, my fellow members of RE-START, to unleash your pride, so that it too may become infectious to all those around us. 

Join me on Saturday, October 14, 2017 as we, the members of RE-START, march with PRIDE announcing to Orlando and the world that we are strong, healthy and living with HIV!

Re-Start is a group committeed to continuing education in how to live well with HIV. The group meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesday every month at The Stafford House: 711 Seminole Ave, Orlando FL 32804.

Contact Steve Addona for more information at: saddona@hopeandhelp.org or 407-680-5302