D'Angelo, Washington, D.C.

My name is D’Angelo. I’m 22 years old. I’m from Atlanta, Georgia, moved to D.C. in 2007, and I currently reside in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, with my best friend.

Me and my mother used to be very close before she found out that I was gay. We were inseparable. I was fourteen when she found out and, you know, things started going downhill from there. She didn’t approve and we fought. I’ve been kicked out the house and I’ve ended up homeless, living on the streets of Atlanta.

I mean, not to blame her, but I don’t think I would have HIV if I wasn’t kicked out, because I wouldn’t have been doing the things that I was doing in Atlanta. You know, there was some sleeping with people for places to stay, and for money. I did things that weren’t healthy for me, just to survive. I actually knew about safe sex and everything. But, you know, at the time, when you are hungry and you don’t have anything to eat or you don’t want to be sleeping on the subway…. I did what I had to do.

As far as the photos that I take, if you look at them you’ll see that they are pictures of me, a lot of them alone, just somewhere, sitting or standing or walking. And that’s because I’m trying to portray someone who is lonely and feels like he doesn’t have anyone.

It’s tough, I’m back to square one now, out on the street again. I don’t like to portray myself as someone who’s homeless or doesn’t have a place to go, but that’s reality at the moment, and I can’t depend on my best friend and his family forever.

I want to dedicate my life to advocacy work within the LGBT community, particularly for LGBT youth, so what’s next for me is trying to put my life together and move forward and take care of myself. So I’m going to be trying to find new work and continue in my advocacy and doing what I need to do. Just because I’m down-and-out right now doesn’t mean I can’t still put my best foot forward and go out there and advocate for people. I mean, I’ve been unhappy before, I’ve been depressed before, so I know it’s nothing I can’t defeat.

About Through Positive Eyes

Through Positive Eyes [ThroughPositiveEyes.org] tells the story of HIV/AIDS at the end of the third decade of the epidemic, when potent antiretroviral medication has been devised, but when treatment access is far from universal. Through Positive Eyes is an attempt to address key themes of the AIDS epidemic: widespread stigma, extreme social inequality, and limited access to lifesaving medication. The project is based on the belief that challenging stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS is the most effective method for combating the epidemic—and that art is a powerful way to do this. HIV-positive people take part in this unique initiative, creating powerful personal photo essays. From these images, we create local and international advocacy materials including exhibitions, short films, and website. Read more about Through Positive Eyes at artglobalhealth.org/ThroughPositiveEyes.

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