Welcome to Positively Resilient

Welcome to this personal blogging website that I hope will provide emotional support and information for those affected by HIV or AIDS, including those who may have an HIV-positive friend, son or daughter, lover, or co-worker.

As you explore the stories of HIV-positive people on this site, I hope you will feel moved to contribute your own ANONYMOUS stories of day-to-day life with HIV or AIDS. There is no need to identify yourself, and you can even tell your story using made-up names, places, and dates.

This website is not about gay, straight, male, female, or any other social category. We are all on this journey together. It’s about both the triumphs and the tragedies of life with HIV. It’s about true love and the simple need of touch. It’s even about sharing a good laugh together! Most of all, it’s about realizing that we don’t need to go through this struggle alone.

Please contribute your story by posting a comment to a blog post or another comment.  Use a “handle” instead of your real name for anonymity.  Your email address will not be published.

If you are grieving the loss of someone who may have lost the battle with AIDS, we extend a special invitation to share your story in writing as a way of working through the grieving process.

And as you browse this website, please leave an anonymous comment if you find a personal story that moves you. We are all about sharing, caring, and being positively resilient.

Pressley Giles, Jr.

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Houston’s HIV/AIDS-focused Theatre Company Premieres in March

The drama of the AIDS epidemic has dominated the lives of thousands of Houstonians during the past 25 years. Houston’s newly established Positively Resilient Theatre Company is on its way to possibly becoming the nation’s first theater company dedicated to telling the stories of those affected by the ongoing struggle with HIV.

The Positively Resilient Theatre Company was established in 2010 by producer and director Pressley Giles, who has been HIV-positive for 14 years. The company’s first live stage performance, appropriately titled Positively Resilient, is being produced with the generous sponsorship of the Montrose Counseling Center.

This multicultural stage production features several true stories in addition to moving fictional accounts of life with HIV and AIDS by published novelist Wolf Phoenix. The stories emphasize themes of courage and hope, and also highlight the role that faith plays in the lives of many people affected by HIV and AIDS.

Positively Resilient will be staged for one night only on Saturday, March 19, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. at the Montrose Counseling Center, 401 Branard Street (first floor), Houston, Texas 77006.

This community outreach performance is being presented free of charge and is open to the public. Group reservations are available. Contact Pressley Giles at PositivelyResilient@gmail.com for more information. We also invite you to visit our blogging website https://positivelyresilient.wordpress.com

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My Story

The day I was diagnosed was a regular day in 1997. It was about 2 pm and I was just getting ready to leave for work. The phone rang. I was reluctant to answer it because I did not want to be late for work, but I went on and picked up the phone.

It was my family doctor. I could hear hesitation in his voice. He said he needed me to come into the office as soon as possible. I let him know that I was about to go to work and could not come in right then. I insisted he tell me the problem. Again he hesitated. I seriously had no idea of what was about to come.

He said, “It has changed.” I asked, “What are you talking about?” He said, “Your HIV status has changed. It’s positive for HIV.” He said it had changed because nine months before it had been negative. I barely took a breath and asked, “Well, what do we need to do now?” He said he wanted to do another test to make sure it was not just a false positive. I agreed to come in the next day. Then I hung up the phone and I made two phone calls, one to my mother and another to the therapist I was seeing for life improvement issues. I left for work.

It was early January in NYC, but it was a beautiful day. The sky was bluer than blue. Every tree was greener than green. Every greeting smile was appreciated. I was living in Staten Island and had to take the ferry into Manhattan. The Hudson was even beautiful. The Statue of Liberty was spectacular. I seemed to have an immediate, greater appreciation of life.

I worked at a famous luxury hotel. When I rushed into the employee entrance of the hotel, I professionally left my problems at the door. I laughed and smiled with my fellow workers. I was happy to serve my guests. On the way back home again, I took in the beauty of life and its surroundings. I may have been in denial, but for then and there it was a safe place to be. Since my diagnosis, I have had my share of life’s usual problems, but I have never forgotten how beautiful life and earth can be.

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