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Strength for the Future

By Tyrone James

I'm 37, from East Baltimore. I'm not what you would consider gay. I've slept with men for money to get drugs at one point in my life. The conscious state of an addict is not to worry about the consequences of anything, let alone HIV.

I feel like I can make a huge difference to someone who knows my story. I mean to not be as promiscuous as I was, because I know I was infected through sexual contact.

I got out of prostitution and drugs on October 1, 2004. When I was released from the Baltimore City Detention Center I wanted a change of life. I didn't know how to do that, but I had the desire. I had a girlfriend who is now my wife. She hung in with me through the [drug and HIV treatment]. Her strength in having that belief in me ... I started to take on that strength.

Our pastor has an HIV/AIDS ministry. I wanted to be a part of that. To help somebody understand that they can live with this disease and live good.

On the streets, they relate to me because I've sat in their seat. I'll disclose my HIV status most of the time. I had a guy tell me I'm lying. He said, "Look me in the eyes and tell me you have it."

I looked him in the eye and said, "Yes, I do."