In strictly medical terms, there's no difference between HIV and diabetes; they're not curable, but they're very, very highly treatable, and early information is power. The only thing - literally the only thing - that is different is the stigma. And we have to overcome it, because it is now the only reason people are dying.
I have lived pain, and my life can tell: I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on summer humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives.
Early on in my life, I had a broken soul. I was abused by my father, abandoned by my mother and ended up in a destructive first marriage. By the time I was 23, I was broken in my soul. I didn't know how to think right. I felt wrong about everything. But God stepped into my life, and I came out on the other side and didn't even smell like smoke.
My childhood, adolescence and high school days are unusually important. If there has ever been a time that I developed a uniqueness and sense of humor and the ability to organize, it was then. In those early days, I developed the skills that gave me a certain degree of success in American politics.
Our uniqueness makes us special, makes perception valuable - but it can also make us lonely. This loneliness is different from being 'alone': You can be lonely even surrounded by people. The feeling I'm talking about stems from the sense that we can never fully share the truth of who we are. I experienced this acutely at an early age.