Justin's HIV Journal

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Justin's HIV Journal: HIV Blogger Only 1 Year Older Than AIDS Discovery

I was able to dig up this clip from News Channel 9 on the anniversary of HIV a couple of years ago here is the story written in its entirety.  Thank you to Brittany Morehouse

WASHINGTON (WUSA) --  When Justin B. Smith was born, AIDS didn't even exist; now the video blogger is inspiring others with being an openly gay male who is HIV positive.

"It had not dawned on me it was the anniversary," said Smith.  "When I first heard that, I was like: 'Oh, 30 years... Oh my gosh...I'm 31; it's been as long as I've been alive.'"

While Smith contracted the virus in 2005, he remembers reading about Ryan White, the famous child with AIDS who wrote about about being publicly shamed because of the disease.  At the time he was 14, Smith said his mother told him his blood work was off and he immediately thought 'HIV.'

"My mother was like: 'No, you have high blood pressure.'" he said.  "I remember reading about Ryan White and thinking about how sad  it was he couldn't go to school and all the kids made fun of him.  Today, even though we have a lot of work still left to be done, we've come very far in education. We know that me touching someone is not going to give that person HIV."

Smith documents every major and minor detail of having HIV in a video journal.  It began as a blog.

"There are people out there living with HIV and everybody has their own journey," he said.  "My journey is different but I decided to put it in front of the camera because I have yet to see an African American gay male or anybody actually going to a doctor's visit, putting it on YouTube and letting thousands of people or even millions of people see firsthand what an HIV positive person goes through."

Now, he's published a children's book called "I have a secret."  It's about a young child like Ryan White who has HIV.

Now, some of the greatest responses he gets from his public profile come from people a couple decades older.  Many of them have lost half of their friends who died after contracting AIDS.

"I get a lot of attention from that generation saying thank you," he said.  "Thank you for doing this."