HIV survivor says HIV gave him a better look on life

(Merdie Nzanga)

Derrick Cox, a man living with HIV, said on Dec. 1 at the World AIDS Day Event in Washington that living with HIV has given him a better perspective on life.

“HIV helped me better my life. It helped me really settle down and focus on myself,” Cox said.

Cox said he was diagnosed in March of 2011 after contracting the virus from a former partner. When he first found out about his diagnosis, he said he was more shocked than surprised.

“I just immediately started the preparation and did what I had to do as far as taking care of myself,” Cox added.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) attended the event and told participants that the city is trying to lower its HIV cases.

“For nine consecutive years, we have been able to decrease the number of HIV cases in the District,” Bowser said.

Bowser also told participants that residents are receiving care and treatment faster and staying on top of treatments that are effective.

“When residents are diagnosed with HIV, they are getting care faster… and staying on treatments we know are effective,” Bowser continued.

Dr. Goulda Downer, director of the Howard University College of Medicine HIV Project, said that people must prepare in case they become diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. Goulda also said that each individual must share important information they receive about AIDS and HIV.

“Information is useless unless it’s shared. So when we finish today, tell somebody,” Goulda said. 

(Merdie Nzanga)

According to HIV statistics, more than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV today and they are not aware of it. HIV Statistic also said in 2014 about 37,600 Americans were diagnosed with HIV.

The D.C. World AIDS Day Red Carnation Affair event took place at Franklin D. Reeves Center as part of Mayor Bowser’s effort to commemorate World Aids Day.

Bowser announced the “90/90/90/50” plan last year to help end the AIDS epidemic in the District.

Cox said he wants people to know that HIV does not define him.

“My main thing is for people to know is that I’m not HIV. HIV is me I wear it well it’s who I am,” Cox said.