Angie: …getting on top of a ladder, but as long as something doesn’t fall on your head.
Adrian: No, I don’t trust you on the ladder anymore.
Angie: Adrian is a wonderful – I always going to say kid because he’s always going to be my kid.
Adrian: She’s the definition of resilience. And I think a lot of my personality and a lot of my traits and a lot of my strength come from watching her growing up.
Angie: How you do? Good?
Adrian: Good. I’ve faced a lot of adversity in my life I feel like and so has she. When I was through the thick of it all I just thought of her. I was, like, maybe around twelve. I wasn’t myself, very in my shell. And so, she knew something was wrong.
Angie: So, I go in there and I say, why are you crying? A
drian: I just told her, I said, mom, I’m gay.
Angie: And I said, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to love you less than what I love you now. You will always be my kid and you have me. I love you to death. You’re my son. Nobody can tell me different. I always tell you, you know, no matter what, blood is thicker than water and you look for each other.
Adrian: I started getting really sick and it was around wintertime. I thought maybe I’m just, you know, I have a really bad cold. I have a bad flu. It’s – it’s the cold. It’s messing with me.
Angie: The nurse said, uh, we’re going to run some tests on you. And then, he said, uh, have you ever been tested for HIV?
Adrian: We actually found out that I had received a diagnosis of AIDS. My t-cell count was at about 20. And my viral load was just through the roof. I was really sick. I was in the hospital for about two weeks and it was hell. It was the worst thing I’ve ever been through. But the whole time my mom was there.
Angie: As soon as I heard the nurse say it, I said, what? I couldn’t say anything. I was in shock. I didn’t know about AIDS. I heard about it, but I wasn’t educated on it. And I remember holding him tight and saying, we’re going to be okay. There’s treatments. I don’t know a lot about it, but we’re going to pull this together. I’m going to be there for you no matter what. God doesn’t give us what we cannot handle. And for a reason He gave me Adrian and said, because this person can handle it. This person is going to be there for him. And it’s my way of thinking and my faith, there’s always a reason for things. [ I love you. ]
Adrian: She refused to leave, even when I told her, you know, go get yourself some real food. You don’t have to eat the hospital food. Go home. Secretly, I was grateful that she didn’t. I was scared and I knew that I needed her and she wouldn’t leave, thankfully.
Angie: Once I got him home, he had an appointment right away. I said, I’ll go with you to every single appointment because I want to know. I need to get educated about his medication, how it works, how – if he misses a doses can he take two or, you know.
Adrian: I’m very healthy today, thankfully. I am undetectable. My immune system is strong again. And aside from that, if I engage with anyone, it makes the chances of transmitting HIV to them very low. I adhere to my medications as prescribed. And it’s just sort of like, part of my every day routine. You know, I brush my teeth, put on deodorant, take my pill. I don’t know how I would have been able to do it on my own. I don’t think I would have made it this far.
Angie: I always tell him, remember, don’t ever forget I’m your wall and I’m always going to here for you. I’m always going to love you no matter what.
For more information about supporting loved ones living with HIV, go to family.greaterthan.org.
After finding out he has HIV, Adrian and his mom Angie got educated together. From attending doctor’s appointments with her son to making sure he keeps up with his medications, her support means everything.
Stay Healthy, Prevent HIV
A person with HIV who is in ongoing care can live a normal lifespan. In addition to improving health, HIV treatment also prevents the spread of the virus to others.