Odessa Prater

 Praise God from whom all blessings flow. My name is Odessa Prater and I have been HIV positive since 1998. It was a routine doctors check up. A week later Dr. Edith Jones called me and said I needed to come to the office about my blood results. She told me I was HIV positive and recommended that I go see Dr. Joseph Gathe Sr. I was simply devastated! I was 37 years old with a three-year-old. I cried for 3 days!!! My first thoughts were to get my son tested. Thank God he was negative. I followed up with Dr. Gathe, he told me that my numbers were not high enough to begin medication. He recommended I just needed to continue to eat right, exercise so forth and so on. But I went home that night and plan my funeral; from what I wanted to wear to what songs needed to be played .I even decided who should keep my child. Six months went by and I wasn’t dead , a year went  by and I still wasn’t dead. I decided well ;I guess I’m gonna have to live with this. I decided to keep it a secret  because I didn’t want my mother to know. I believe somewhere deep down inside I was ashamed and I used the fact that I didn’t want my mom to know as an excuse. Eight years with by before my mother passed away. To my knowledge she never knew.  I still didn’t want to tell anyone. I eventually shared it with my siblings. I told my best friend and it was our little secret. It wasn’t until, about five years ago I told my children. They were so supportive and so loving and I decided that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I connected with salvation after HIV decided to become an ambassador for them and shared my story. I now believe by being transparent that I can help so many people . We must all remember that we are not alone. We have support , we have love ones, we have family we have friends, and most importantly we have God. One of my favorite scriptures is, Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. I am a living witness that God is able .