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The moment that she came to me and said you’re HIV-positive – I dropped. Did not even know exactly what to do, I thought that my life was over. I thought nobody would love me, nobody would care for me, nobody would be there to support me now I thought. My grandfather just said drive home it’s going to be okay. It took me almost 3 and 1/2 months to get adjusted to actually accept in myself standing in front of the mirror crying my eyes out, crying saying, “Lord help me. Lord protect me.” You know just asking myself, “What can I do Lord? Where did this come from?” So when I began to accept it, I began to tell myself, “Melvin you are HIV-positive. Melvin you are somebody. Melvin you are going to make it.” And it made me to actually realize that if I can do it I can encourage someone else to do it.

Melvin talks about the process of learning to accept and love himself after finding out he has HIV. “I began to tell myself: ‘Melvin, you are HIV positive. You are somebody. You are going to be okay.'”

Today, Melvin is using his voice to end stigma and educate his community about how people with HIV can live healthy, fulfilling lives.