Well, How Did I Get Here?

“You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
You may find yourself in another part of the world
You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house
With a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself
Well—how did I get here?”—Once In a Lifetime, Talking Heads

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Often, the first question I’m asked when I disclose that I’m HIV positive is “Do you know who infected you?” or “How did you get it?” Every HIV positive person I’ve chatted with has a story of how they got here; it is a crucial part of our journey and identity. How we became HIV positive is more than just the virology of transmission, whether it was from bareback sex or sharing needles. We seek a venue, a room, a place with context. We want a name or names. We want a time frame. We want answers, because it helps how we tell our story and may define our past, present and future.

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