I'm riding to End AIDS! (This is a long letter but please read until the end)
I am doing it again! This will be my 10th consecutive year as a rider supporting this amazing cause. I can only continue to do this year after year with your support. I want to raise $10,000.00 this year to celebrate my 10 years of participation.
Until HIV/AIDS is a thing of the past, you and I need to continue to do whatever we can to make the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS have a better life. For the last 10 years you have given all that you can to support me, I am asking you to do it again. Not for me or even yourself but for those that need the services provided by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.
Your generous donations help fight HIV/AIDS for sure, but they also help fight the stigma that goes along with being a HIV Positive person. I have realized year after year of doing this ride that I am one of the people perpetuating the stigma by not being forthright with my status. It is not something that I am ashamed of. I am ready to tell my story!
In June 2011 I participated in my very 1st AIDS/LifeCycle. Full of adrenaline, I rode out of Cow Palace in San Francisco determined to make it to Los Angeles a week later. I made it and I rode all 545 miles that year. I have never been more proud of myself than when I crossed that finish line in Los Angeles. I was so excited that I signed up for the 2012 ride as soon as I got off my bike.
During the ride in 2011 I had felt sick. I had a fever and body aches and the chills. I chalked it up to pushing my body so hard each day. I wasn't letting that stop me, I was determined to finish the ride. A couple of weeks later, June 27th was National HIV Testing Day. I told everyone that would listen to go get tested and know their status. I went to the testing location as soon as I got off work that day. By the time I arrived they had run out of testing supplies and asked me to go to their office the next day for a test. June 28th, 2011 started off much like any other day. I worked all day and even left a bit early so that I could make it to the testing location. I had been tested 3 months before and wasn't expecting to be told anything except I was negative. The nurse did a swab on my mouth and told me it would be a short wait and he would be back. I sat there for quite a while wondering what was taking so long. The nurse finally came back and sat down and said "Okay, your test came back Positive". I was shocked, I over-reacted and passed out. I came to on a stretcher in the back of the clinic.
I now believe that I seroconverted on that 1st AIDS/LifeCycle. Kind of ironic, don't you think? Even though I knew that this was no longer the death sentence that it had once been in the 80's for so many of my friends, I was still worried about what my future would be like and how my life would change. I confided in a select few over the next few days and weeks. People that I knew were in my situation. With their support and remembering what I had just accomplished I knew that I could do this.
I started my medication very early on. The day that I started taking my medication was very difficult. I sat on the floor of my living room and held that single pill in my hand and crying so hard that I couldn't breathe. I knew once I swallowed that pill that I would have to do that everyday for the rest of my life. I called a friend who was also living with HIV and told him that I was having a hard time taking this pill. He saw that I was feeling sorry for myself and said to me "Take the Fucking Pill, you only have to take one pill a day, I have to take over 15 pills a day, you my friend are lucky." I realized that he was right, I was lucky. All of the Heroes that had participated in this ride and others like it around the world had got us to a point that a HIV Positive person could take just one pill a day instead of many.
I am also lucky because I have healthcare. I have never had to pay a penny for any of my HIV medications. I cannot begin to know how it feels to not know where or how you are going to get your life saving medication. My medication would cost around $3,500.00 a month without healthcare. This is another reason why I ride.
I have reached an undetectable status. U=U (Undetecable = Untransmittable) With HIV Positive people taking their medication daily and HIV Negative people taking Truvada (Prep) we can stop the spread of this virus!
Lastly, I would like to say, before anyone has to ask; yes, I do know how, when, where and Who I got the virus from. It is not important. It doesn't matter how a person contracted HIV. It only matters that we do all that we can to stop the spread, stop the stigma and educate ourselves on the subject. If one of us has HIV, all of us have HIV. If you have any questions about HIV, please ask me. We need to make this a world where it does not matter is someone is HIV Positive.
Please click the link below and help me reach my goal of raising $10,000.00 for my 10 years of participation in AIDS/LifeCycle. Together we can eliminate the spread and stop the stigma of having HIV!!
Logan Ray, Proud HIV Positive Rider #1020