My name is Robin Barkins. I was first diagnosed with HIV at age 15 – just 4 months before my 16th birthday. When I first heard the news, I instantly thought my life was over. I refused all HIV treatment. I began to use drugs heavily and I slept around with different men and women without disclosing my status. I was angry at the world and I wanted everyone to feel my pain.
For 10 years I did a lot of demoralizing things. I kept my status a secret from the world; I even kept it from my own mother. After 10 years of running from my problems, using drugs and drinking alcohol; I began to get tired of the way I was living my life. I decided to go into treatment.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought that going to treatment would be the beginning of a new and improved life for me. I began to face my problems and fears head on and I found some coping skills in the process. These were skills I could use in case a problem came my way – I now have a better way to deal with these issues instead of running to get high.
I surrendered totally as far as my health was concerned and I began to start loving myself. I decided that my story could help others. While in treatment, I began to share my story which gave other people hope. In the process, it helped me as well.
I am currently 3 years sober, and my goal is to help women and men who are suffering with substance abuse and HIV. I want to give them hope and let them know they are not alone.