De’Von Weatherspoon is a rising senior at Morehouse College. Recently he made a Facebook confession that shocked his friends and classmates.
“Hello, I am HIV Positive,” were the words Weatherspoon posted to his account in May.
The 22-year-old Detroit native said he contemplated about how he would disclose his status and realized Facebook was the only way to reach everyone in his circle because he didn’t want to keep it a secret any more. He said he wanted to reveal to people what it was like living with HIV and attending college with people he felt were opposed to his sexual preference.
In that post as well as in a subsequent interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Weatherspoon shares how he has been treated since revealing his status, including how some family members, friends and acquaintances took the news. Some were supportive, such as this commenter:
“You have courage, strength, and so much joy. My uncle has been living with HIV for over 10 years. There’s a lot of people who don’t know their status. You are such a blessing to others. You’re awesome.”
But not everyone is so accepting.
“There are some people who I have tried to reach out to regarding both my sexuality and my diagnosis,” says Weatherspoon. “We were once good friends and now they are whispering behind my back whenever I see them.”
He said he felt ‘relieved, very relieved’ when he initially posted the item. “I just felt the need to be honest with my truth and my story,” he said. “I’m saying that this is what I’m going through. I know so many (HIV positive) people whose stories are worse than mine, but they remain silent.”
Still, he says, at times he has second thoughts about announcing his status so publicly, and he said his post may have painted too rosy a picture of what it’s like to live with HIV. “Being a student is tough enough, but you add in an HIV positive status, and it’s really tough. There are just so many things to deal with.”