A young man’s story on how he conquered ignorance and turned it into powerful knowledge after contracting HIV
By Gia Parker
There are times in life when you may encounter individuals whose presence changes your life. Or, hear powerful words that awaken the essence of your being. There are Individuals that enlighten your mind and feed your soul with their wisdom—individuals like David Robertson.
Diagnosed with HIV on June 19, 2007, Robertson has made it his life commitment to educate and aid those infected with the disease. Raised in an upper middle class environment, Robertson had a philosophy about AIDS and HIV, which stemmed from his privileged community.
“The first thing I recall…is being told that HIV and STDs don’t happen to people like ’us’,” Robertson said. “People who make six figures, live with a white picket fence, have a 3.5 person family household, and college bound didn’t contract such diseases.”
But he soon discovered that the forbidden disease not only lurked through the communities of the underprivileged, but it could roam anywhere—even in his own backyard.
After being forced to resign from his job for refusing to disclose his medical circumstances when requesting time off, Robertson sat in his high-rise Chicago condo depressed and unemployed. However, in the midst of his despair, he had a vision during that time where he was standing in front of thousands of people. Robertson was on stage in front of a microphone, but no words left his lips. He tilted down in the vision and suddenly he discovered himself surrounded by a large pool of blood. Upon waking up from this visual, he had an epiphany regarding his purpose in life. If he did not tell those people in that audience his story or provide the tools on how not to contract HIV and AIDS, their blood would be on his hands. He would be accountable for the lives lost.
On July 1, 2007, Robertson never looked back to his comfortable lifestyle of the common 9-5 job. He became involved with a non-profit organization that housed jail inmates recently released to help aid in transitioning these individuals back into society. His assertiveness and diligence in serving the organization left an obvious impression with the founder of the organization; but it was Robertson’s journey with HIV that inspired her to invite him to speak about his life at an engagement for the first time.
“For me, talking in front of people in general is an automatic ‘Hell no!’, but talking in front of people and telling them your personal business was a double ‘Oh, hell no!’ to me,” says Robertson.
Nervous and challenged with a speech impediment, Robertson made his way to the stage and instantly evolved into a motivation speaker.
“I got up on the stage and it was like I saw hundreds of little brothers and little sisters, and I did not have a choice but to aid them with my story because I saw them in my shoes,” describes Robertson.
Robertson’s first speaking engagement drew many young people to his attention with questions, curiosities and amazement about his life. His goal was to let them know that “everything that looks good is not good for you,” says Robertson. That moment also helped catapult him to speak around the nation.
Uncovering the Facade
“My message is: HIV is my adversity. What’s yours? Is it poverty? Is it lack of education? Is it HIV as well? When we all start sharing our adversities…we [African American community] would be an immaculate people if we poured into each other instead of sitting back in the cut and not talk about it or be about it,” expresses Robertson. He challenges the African American community to identify with their adversities and seek help to conquer it.
He explains to individuals wanting to know his sexual orientation and he simply tells them that sex, unprotected sex is what took him on this unique journey. Sexual orientation is irrelevant to Robertson. “Individuals like to put clairvoyance on the issue. It’s simple. If you are not using protection, you are at risk of a STD, a STI or an infectious disease,” warns Robertson.
He describes himself as an attractive, educated and vibrant black man, but he’s swift to tell people that living with HIV should not be taken lightly and it’s a chapter in his life that cannot be disregarded.
“I let people know that every day I don’t feel like getting up. My body doesn’t feel like doing what I want it to do. The side effects of taking HIV medication are no punk. Drugs don’t have anything on HIV medication. The side effects are just abnormal. I tell people don’t let the cute clothes and the personality fool you,” Roberson emphasizes.
The Next Level
Robertson is currently working on several projects including a series of photography books, which implement the discovery of hope in a hopeless situation among individuals from different walks of life. This project serves to demonstrate that no matter the situation, a person can find that light of hope in the midst of a dark tunnel. Also, in the near future he will be creating a one man show production titled, The Testimony of a Beloved Kneegrow Boy, which will consist of one hour theatrical performance demonstrating the epic stages of his life.
Robertson states that nearly 1,000 individuals contract HIV globally every day. He challenges himself to reduce that rate by 10 percent within the next five years through sharing his story with the world. David Robertson, a remarkable individual, strives to lead by example in setting high expectations for his dedication to HIV/AIDS awareness. The motivation that keeps him going is eagerness to be one step closer to preventing someone from being on the verge of having unprotected sex.
“I live by the scripture, ‘my people perish for the lack of knowledge’ and it has been my duty to provide it. I am the face of hope,” proclaims Robertson.
Learn more about David Robertson by visiting www.davidrobertsoninc.com. To contact or book Robertson, please email him at email@example.com.
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