Rev Jide Macaulay
Seventeen years ago, I was diagnosed with HIV.
When I found out, I reacted so badly. I cried for days. I felt disgusted with myself. The guy I was so fond of and my regular sexual partner had infected me and he was no-where to be found after my diagnosis. At that point I hated him, but not anymore.
The first person I told, cursed me and called me a slut and said I deserved to die.
A good friend responded differently. He took me to his house; he bathed me and gave up his bed for me. He promised me I will be okay. Before this I had been a good Christian boy married to a woman and had a family. But I was gay, now with HIV, I believed then that God was punishing me.
I started to think I would die but everyone assured me I would be ok. I started to be positive minded. When it came to HIV medication, I followed all the instructions. I was assured by my carers and counsellors to remain positive.
I never told anyone in my family until summer 2019 when I told my cousin. Disclosure only happens when you are ready, you decide who when to share. I was under no pressure. But sharing with you cousin has changed my life.
My greatest achievements and dreams are so far being fulfilled in these past 17 years. I have a job I love, I founded ‘House of Rainbow’ with activities in over 22 countries. I have attained two additional university degrees since my HIV diagnosis, and I am planning to enrol for a PhD. I have been to 50 countries. I have worked with many amazing people. I am the Chairperson of the International Network of Religious Leaders Living with HIV in Europe. I am a Volunteer Chaplain at Mildmay Mission Hospital – a HIV care centre since the 1980s.
I am an ordained clergy in the Anglican Church which I joined in 2010, seven years after my HIV diagnosis, trusting God towards priesthood.
I refuse to give up, because HIV does not define me, you will live to declare the glory of God. Stay healthy and love yourself.