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Hey my name is Chris and I’m 25 years old. Growing up in Brooklyn, you know, I realized I was gay at an early age but I didn’t quite have an outlet to talk to anyone about it, so I internalized it a lot. For several years, I associated myself as being someone on the DL. Some people might argue that there are differences between being DL and discrete. DL is just pretty much on the down low. You keep your business to yourself, you know, it would just be as casual as meeting people in the street. You know, on one hand, I was Chris you know the scholar, the athlete, the jock, you know the brother and everything else but I essentially had to live two different lives and it just became really hard and suffocating after a while. HIV claimed the lives of several people important to me. Around this time, I just really sheltered myself out of fear of contracting the virus and everything climax around the death of my cousin. He was positive and we shared a lot in common but essentially I just realized that through his past, that could have been me in his shoes. To this day, I’m HIV negative but regardless of your age, your race, your orientation, your HIV status, we all have a part to play in this. You know, once you cast away all those labels we’re all people at the end of the day. So it was not just a struggle of the guys on the DL or the you know African-American women or minority people who are suffering with this. Everyone can be affected by it, you know, this is something that affects us all. When it comes to my sexual business, I always practice safe sex. I do take pride in just taking care of myself and it’s making sure that you know wherever my mind is, my body can follow.

Chris kept his sexuality close to him for many years until he started losing more and more friends to HIV/AIDS. He felt like it could have easily been him and he couldn’t stay in the shadows any longer.