Seven years ago I met a man who grabbed my attention and captivated me from the moment I met him. From day one I could feel that Matt had an energy and charisma that could not be denied. He was happy, full of life, and it seemed nothing could bring him down. When I met Matt I was very new to St. Louis. I did not know many people and I was a little timid being a young gay man in a big city. Meeting Matt brought my shyness and loneliness to an end. From the beginning he made me feel as though I was special and had someone who cared about me. He made this small town boy feel more at home in a city that almost overwhelmed me.
Our story together is one that began with honesty. An experience that occurred following our first initial meeting was very unexpected but it allowed me to understand and appreciate who Matt Schiermeier really was. Matt pulled me aside and told he had something important he needed to talk to me about. With open ears I listened as he expressed to me very calmly that he was HIV positive. He wanted to be honest and come out with this information so I could decide if I still wanted to continue seeing him or if this was something that would cause me to want to part ways. I have to admit, at this point in my life I had never met anyone with HIV and knew very little about it. I knew it had sadly taken many peoples lives but had never had any experience in dealing with it first hand. After our discussion, I had to leave because I was running late for work. I left his house, surprised, scared, and with many questions running through my head. Questions abut HIV.
I grew up in a place where a lot of people could possibly be closed minded to certain situations or circumstances. I however, even from a young age, have been a person who does not judge, who is very open minded, and who desires for everyone to be treated equally as possible no matter what the circumstance. Because of Matt’s honesty from the beginning I was able to put my sense of fear aside and replace it with a sense of trust. It let me see that Matt was just as beautiful on the inside as he appears on the outside.
If you ever get the chance to personally meet Matt, you will feel this energy I spoke of earlier. An energy that draws you to him. Beyond Matt’s great looks, incredible physique and quirky,fun personality lies one of the biggest hearts I have ever known. A heart that has been uplifted and broken but one that continues to beat strong for things that matter to him most. Matt is my best friend and soul mate. We share many of the same thoughts and desires. This can especially be seen when it comes to the issue of HIV. Matt and I want people to become more educated about this issue, we desire to give to research organizations to help find a cure for HIV, and we strive for fear to be dispelled by an increase in knowledge.
Though extraordinary circumstances may exist in a relationship, I would like people to realize that it is possible to be with someone and truly love. Yes, there are risks involved. It is each individuals responsibility to be aware of their health status, be knowledgeable, and make a devotion to protection. Matt and I have come together at this time in our life to take our experiences and our love and share them in a true desire to help others. Showing people that with honesty, knowledge, understanding, and a desire to give back, we can all come Together For Good, controlling and fighting.