In 2006 after getting my drink spiked in a bar and being raped, I tested positive for HIV.
At that moment my world fell apart, dealing with the rape was hard enough, but to then be told I had HIV made me want to give up on life.
I had grown up in the 1980s during Section 28 and saw the way the media showed what HIV looked like and it scared me half to death.
It took time to start looking at HIV differently, a few years actually, but I started to tell my story in my own one man show called ‘Shadowed Dreamer’ that I took to New York in 2009.
Doing this made me realise the power that our stories have and so many people started to share their own stories with me because they knew all of mine.
When I returned from New York I knew I had to continue using my story in some way so I started my YouTube channel Hart Talks.
I then became a Positive Voices speaker with Terrence Higgins Trust.
By going out to schools, businesses and companies and sharing my journey I can help make sure that no one ever felt as lonely and scared as I had.
Every year on World AIDS Day I feel so happy with the progress in treatment, life expectancy and stories I hear from so many who are able to tell talk openly about living with HIV, but there is also a tinge of sadness too, for the millions that we have lost to the virus and for the stigma and misunderstanding that I hear of everyday in regards to what HIV is in 2023.
To reach the goal of ending new HIV cases by 2030 would be amazing and I know that so many are working really hard to make this a reality. I do believe it can be done.