August 25- 27
Harbourfront Centre

Valfrid Chen

I am Valfrid, HIV-positive.

It took me only a short year from diagnosis to coming out publicly as living with HIV. During this time, I learned how to accept my diagnosed self, and I no longer feel sadness or shame about it.

HIV-positive people are often labeled by the media with many stigmatizing terms: gay, sexual, promiscuous, deviant, and so on. But is that really the case?

Before my diagnosis, I used to feel dirty and anxious when going for anonymous HIV testing. But after living with HIV, listening to medical advice, and following the regimen of taking medication, check-ups, drawing blood, and test reports, over and over – when the doctor said, “Wow! Congratulations! You no longer test positive!” I was overjoyed.

In the process of learning about the disease, I asked myself:

“Why should I be so afraid?”

“I am now just like any other normal person!”

“What is normal? I’ve always been normal! I was just sick, that’s all!”

“Why should I label myself with negative terms?”

Through this awakening process, I learned to “accept myself,” and removed the negative “labels” from myself, which made me feel liberated! I need to speak up for myself and for other HIV-positive individuals, and tell everyone: “We are not different from anyone else!”

[Artist Info]

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TAIWANfest Toronto is grateful to be held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, that is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We acknowledge our privilege to be gathered here, and commit to work with and be respectful to the Indigenous peoples of this land while we engage in meaningful conversations of culture and reconciliation.