This is my story and how things came to be…


c294082ceb89b0c8809b2b655b82ed7c_3It was January 2008 when I went to boot camp at Parris Island, SC. to join the United States Marine Corps. I went in knowing I was gay and was proud of it. On February 23, 2010 I was diagnosed with HIV. It was a life changer for me. I didn’t know where to turn or who to go to. This is the story of what happened to when being a gay Marine, I was diagnosed with HIV.

I was on pre-deployment leave for a total of two days when my LtCol called me personally on my cell phone. To say the least I was a bit surprised because here I am an LCpl (E-3) getting a phone call from my Co. (commanding officer). I was told he was flying me back to San Diego the very next day due to “legal” matters. I kind of had an idea at the time but I was not willing to admit it to myself. I never thought that something like this could happen to me. I was scared that this was going to be the last time I saw my family before my first deployment and I only had the chance to spend two days with them.

I arrived in San Diego on February 23, 2010 and was picked up by the DNCO (duty noncommissioned officer) at the airport. I was taken directly to the Squadron where I meet with my Co. I was then informed that during my pre-deployment blood screening my results came back to show that I had contracted HIV. I was mortified and no words can explain what I was feeling at the time. I wanted to ask God what I had done to deserve this and “why me”. I had always told myself since I realized I was gay at the age of 14 that nothing like this would ever happen to me and if it did then I would end it. At the time I was so confused and hurt that I really wanted to end it, I wanted to take my life and put this all in God’s hands.

To make matters worse when I was told I was taken directly to the hospital to see an Infectious Disease Doctor even before the news had time to sink in. That was all fine and well once I talked to my new doctor, but then I was taken back to base. I was left in my barracks room for a solid week alone, no one to talk to, no support group, and not knowing where to turn. I was alone in life for the first time I could ever remember. I was scared to tell my parents what was really going on because I didn’t want them to hate me or more yet be scared of me. I shut myself off from the world. I started to drink every night to try and numb the pain that I was feeling inside. For a week I was my only company, just me and my thoughts to help pass the time. I had nowhere to turn and nowhere to run. On top of it all I was beating myself up because here I was a gay man at the age of 24 trying to live in a straight man’s world and act like I was no different than anyone else who joined the Marine Corps. I have learned now I am not different than anyone else, I am serving my country and doing what I feel like I need to do to better my life and that of my fellow countrymen.

After my first week I started what they call Initial Evaluations at NMCSD (Naval Medical Center San Diego). It was a two week process where I went through classes with other Marines and Sailors who are in the same situation as I am. These classes were the world to me because they showed me that I am not alone. I was not the only gay man in the military to get HIV. I learned so much through these classes and made a lot of good friends who are even there for me today. I learned everything from living with HIV to the different medication. I learned that this was not the end and that I could live a full life with having HIV. So here I am a gay Marine with HIV.
After my two weeks were up at the hospital I was put on two weeks of convalescence leave to give me time to adjust to my new diagnosis. I spent those two weeks with a guy in the Navy I had met during my second week of classes. He was there for his yearly evaluations. He and I started dating and sooner than expected I was living with him. Things moved way too fast and I think back and I believe part of it had to do with I didn’t want to be alone anymore. I was still scared. After my two weeks of leave were up I did not return to work. I told the hospital that I had and I told work I was still at the hospital. I was scared. I didn’t want to go back. I was scared people were going to find out and judge me. It is hard enough being gay in the Marines but having HIV made it even harder to keep my personal life my own. I went UA (unauthorized absence) for two months. It is not something I am proud of but I just couldn’t bring myself to face the people that I had worked with. Like I said I was scared.

I finally went back to work and confessed what I had done. It was another hard time for me and one I am not proud of. I was a total mess and didn’t know again what to do. That day that I went back to work and told them of what I had done they took me back NMCSD and I was placed in the psychiatric ward. In all I was in the ward for 3 months because I was scared to face the world and scared to face the fact that I was gay and had HIV.

I finally got discharged when I was ready and have been picking my life up ever since. I have done things I am not proud of but I truly believe that I am a better person due to the things I have learned. I was medically retired from the Marines in 2011 and have moved back to North Carolina, where I am currently enrolled in school and perusing a degree in Information Security Technology.

I started writing a blog about my situation soon after I was diagnosed and have been doing updates on it regularly in hopes to not only tell my story but to show others they are not alone.


  • Nancy Slay

    Hey! I am a female Navy Veteran. I am too pox but it happened way after the military. You’re brave. I love to see others like myself. I have handled everything pretty good considering the circumstances lol. Proud of you.

  • Dustin

    I am in the marine reserves now and tested positive on January 8th,2014. I reached out to my medical chief and platoon commander and I feel as if I was shunned. They would not return phone calls, offer any support, or even a hey marine are you going to make it to drill. So here I am struggling with the reality i am facing and the reality of my brothers turning their back on me. If you have any words of encouragement please email me at

  • Chris

    Thank you for creating this website Brian.

    I’m gonna share a little bit of my story here.

    I finally accepted my life as a gay man living in a homophobic society about a couple years ago even though I still keeps it as a secret from the people around me.

    A couple months ago,this January to be exact, I was involved in a HIV risk activity and I think I might be infected. I didn’t really know what to do when he said to me ‘ I’m poz, I just started the medication recently. I’m sorry’.

    At that moment I feel like I’ve lost my future. I’ll lose everything slowly and painfully.

    The idea of getting a test is just like a death sentence for me. I’m afraid that people are gonna judge me and also it means that I had to reveal my sexuality to other people eventually.

    It has been 7 months since then. I’m losing my desire to do anything, losing my sleep time and also it seems that my body starts to react in the same way.

    I don’t really know what to do now.
    I hope that I could found the courage before it’s all too late for me.

  • James

    I am scared to absolute death. I have been in a HIV risk situation, and I think I may be infected. I am losing countless hours of sleep, and starting to malfunction at work. The mere idea of it scares me so much I can’t breathe.

    How did you get through the first stages (I’ve not been diagnosed, I am hopeful, but realistic)?

    • First take a deep breath, everything will be alright. You need to get yourself test, but know that it can take up to three months from the time of the initial infection for you to go through seroconversion and for the test to show a positive result if you are you do have the virus. I got through my early days with a lot of ups and even more downs. It took me some time to start to feel like myself again but creating a strong support group can make all the difference. I tried to keep most of it bottled up and that was not good. You can always hit me up on my facebook page if you would like to chat (I try to answer as quickly as I can when not at work)

  • cope

    Thank you for this site. Im a corpsman and got a phone call on my birthday about being positive…which was only a week ago at disney. im still getting used to even the idea of having it. .. its all pretty overwhelming. so glad im not completely alone. thank you.

    • Hey doc.,
      Please know, you are not alone. If you ever need someone to reach out and talk with, please let me know. I can also get you in contact with some groups that are created for AD and Vets who are living with HIV if you will e-mail me at

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