Last year, on my one year anniversary of finding out my own HIV positive status, I decided to publicly open up about it on Medium.com (http://bit.ly/2fvdmmm) as well as sign up for ALC. It was unnerving to say the least. As far as I had come in that first year after my diagnosis, there was still a small part of me that had felt shame in my status. But through the outreach of friends, family, colleagues, industry peers and strangers alike, I began a healing process. A process that would lead me back to the individual I was before seroconverting. Someone who was strong, happy and proud.
When I wrote my story and signed up for the Ride, I did so to honor those who we lost during the epidemic. But as I cycled those 545 miles, something else became clear. I also needed to do it to help carry on the torch from those who have been carrying it for so long. I met riders last year that have been making the trek to LA for over 20 years now, riding over 10,000 miles in the process to fight HIV/AIDS and the stigma associated with the virus. Because of the tireless efforts of these riders, San Francisco hit a record low number of new infections in 2016. Because of these riders, people now understand that Undetectable = Uninfectious. And because of these riders, we have the opportunity to be a generation of Zero. Zero AIDS-related deaths, zero new infections and zero stigma.
And so I ride. I ride to show my appreciation to everyone that has made it possible for me to live a happy and healthy life. I ride to continue the fight. I ride so that one day we won’t have to. In this spirit, I have set a goal for myself to raise a cumulative $100,000 for my first two rides, which means raising another $44,390 for 2018. I know it may be a long shot, but what’s life without a challenge? If you would like to donate and help me in this endeavor, it would mean everything to me. I cannot wait to ride for each and every one of you yet again.