When it came to sex, back in high school Marteniz remembers that people would talk about being careful not to get a girl pregnant, but as a gay man, that didn’t apply to him. He wishes there had been more resources available when it came to getting educated about how to protect himself from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
My name is Marteniz. I was 17 years old when I first started having sex. When I was in high school, the only thing that people talked about was well, you know, don’t get a girl pregnant. Well that didn’t apply to me, I’m not straight so I kind of disregarded that being so young and I wish I hadn’t. There are still things that you know I can encounter like HIV or even other STDs. I didn’t really know everything there was to know about protecting myself.
I was going to leave for the Air Force and I got some really disturbing news after I took that physical upon entry. I was told that I couldn’t continue on in the Air Force because I was HIV positive. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me I thought that I was going to die. I remember leaving the Air Force facility and I had to go home and face my mother and even though I can see that it hurt her, I remember her holding me and telling me that everything was going to be okay and that she loved me no matter what.
I had my mother’s support from the very beginning and that’s something that was so valuable to me. I just decided at that moment that I wasn’t going to be depressed anymore and I was going to make something of my life because I had a lot more to live for. I feel like you know I’ve been very fortunate to have that type of love and support. I would love to be able to be a mentor to somebody else and help them avoid the pitfalls that I encountered when I was a teenager. my life doesn’t revolve around HIV. Marteniz Brown is so much Greater Than HIV.