William Nagel, 52, HIV Positive/Undetectable
How would you explain being HIV Positive to a child?
HIV is a disease that attacks the immune system. When “sero-conversion” takes place weeks after exposure, there is an ‘event’ in which one feels to be under complete attack from inside and experiences a lot of immune responses/symptoms and antibody production.
What would you want the world to know about HIV?
With access and adherence to medications a person will become undetectable and unable to transmit the virus to other people. Instead of cursing the need for medications, you begin to be grateful that you have them. At various stages along the way, an evaluation of everything in your life happens. You realize you can’t run, and you panic. You have a choice to hide and find a new dark closet to live in or to reach out in a new way, to connect, to ask for help, to be very honest and vulnerable, and to find out that you are not alone, and that you are on a healing journey upon which your very presence on the path of healing is necessary, not just for your wellbeing but for the wellbeing of others. You feel necessary and loved; you feel purpose. And then you can become an instrument of healing for others.
What does it feel like to live with HIV?
Now that I have come this far, It feels like I am stronger than I was before the disease set a new course for my life. I think we are powerful superheroes for others on the healing path.
What brings you joy?
What brings me joy is to be connected to all others on The Healing Path. To share in their bravery, their joy and their purpose to heal themselves and the world around them. Only heroes ‘get back up’, take their setbacks and make the world a better place for us all. Healing Heroes give me joy.