I been living on the streets for a few years now, and been using heroin for about the same amount of time that I been homeless. A couple years back I got tested for HIV and found out that I was HIV positive. I didn’t go to the doctor or anything because I didn’t really know what to do or where to go. I didn’t know how to deal with it, but it was still on my mind a lot. About 6 months ago, I met this lady in my neighborhood who was going around talking to people about the services her organization has. I told her that I had HIV and asked if there was anything she could do to help. Turns out, that is exactly what her job was. I knew it was time to go get the medicine for the HIV. I was tired, my body was slowing down, and I didn’t want to die. I know with the way I was living I was going to get even more sick. She told me that with medicine, I could live the same long, healthy life as anybody else that isn’t living with HIV. We made a plan for her to help me get a doctor’s appointment, get to the doctor, and get a case manager who will handle all my food stamps, housing, and stuff like that. It is such a relief that now I have a plan to get my health under control, and that I will have that support.
Tyrone’s story is one of our HIV Testing & Prevention program’s "Role Model Stories” in which real people describe how they made a change to reduce their risk and improve their health as it relates to HIV and AIDS. Names have been changed and the images are staged with actors.