National Black HIV-AIDS Awareness Day Carousel 9_Larry Bryant

Larry Bryant is a native Washington, DC now living in the Bed-Stuy area of Brooklyn, New York. He is the oldest of six children and the father of an adult son named Dominique. My HIV diagnosis came 30 years ago after my freshman year at Norfolk State University. When Larry was initially diagnosed, he was told he would die within 8 years. The timeline terrified him extensively- so much so that he was convinced and determined to end his life before HIV did. He lived in some very dark places in and around Norfolk, at times waking up in the street or hospital. Larry says that revealing his status to his mother after 5 years of living and dying with his secret saved his life. The support from his family has been immeasurable, even to this day. Larry has known many friends who have passed away in the past 30 years without the love and acknowledgement of their parents and siblings and he knows that is difficult for those surviving to live with.

In an effort to use research as part of his advocacy, Larry is part of an ongoing study at the National Institutes of Health as a Long Term Non-Progressor. The study involves doing research on the white blood cells and immune system of those living with HIV for 10 years or more without the virus advancing and without using any anti-retrovirals. One of the outcomes of the study is finding the building blocks of a cure and helping to prevent any new infections and better treat those who are living with HIV. Larry encourages those living with HIV to fight the fear, ignorance, and self-stigma to by living out loud. “As much as we welcome more activists, we can just as importantly welcome more teachers, lawyers, pastors, parents who are also living with HIV & AIDS.”