Ten Years Ago...

05/02/2016 14:22 GMT | Updated 02/02/2017 10:12 GMT

I first explored London's gay scene ten years ago. I can remember the smell, the taste and the freedom it gave me. Moving to London was one of the best decisions of my life. I savoured London's vivacity and sexuality. I loved living in one of the world's most vibrant cities. At last, I didn't feel alone. In fact, I started to dream.

This was my kind of city! I had a job as a lawyer at a leading law firm. I loved London's museums, restaurants and clubs. Extrovert and glowing, I thought I was unstoppable. But was I? In January 2010, I was diagnosed with HIV and Hep C. This double whammy filled my life with a new uncertainty. I struggled to deal with it. At 24 this was the last thing I expected. I envisaged my career and ambitions curtailed. I compartmentalised and failed to deal with the underlying issues wracking my body. And my mind.

I went to the gym more. My muscles were my armour. Feeling strong doesn't make you strong though. My CD4 count dropped at the end of 2012. I became aware of my own fragility. I engaged in an empowering process of talking about my HIV and Hep C. I had been hiding my status at work. Behaving furtively in the workplace was holding me back as a person.

On the gay scene, I found it hard to discuss my Hep C. I was petrified of losing the intimacy of sex. I decided to be open with everyone around me. I am honest about my HIV and Hep C. I have taken ownership of my HIV and Hep C. I am a stronger person. I am more than either the high flying City lawyer or a terrified patient. In the end, I am just a man, living with the brutal reality of this: the truth.

Another fundamental change took place over the course of 2013. My attitude to faith shifted from sceptical to inquisitive. In December, for the first time in years, I attended a church service. I was clad in a gold lamé jacket by Dior and fitted Saint Laurent jeans. This was a big moment for me. Curiosity became conviction. Last year, the day after my thirtieth birthday, I was confirmed at Southwark Cathedral. The truth of my existence made new sense. This incredible place has the UK's only HIV/AIDS shrine. In that moment, I thought of the many London men who have lost their lives to AIDS. I remembered a wonderful gay man, the best friend of a lady I know, who died having everything to live for. With Christianity I felt that I was not alone, again.

The Church of England welcomed me with open arms, with warmth and acceptance. Many people, like me, are frightened of the old school notion of faith. Yet this Church reminded me that Jesus was a radical, brave and fearless man. I now fight for my faith. I would love to see same-sex marriage endorsed by the Church of England. I would love to see the appointment of an openly gay bishop.

If, ten years ago, someone had told me that I would be the person I am today, I would not have believed them. I've developed in completely unexpected ways. I've tried to take advantage of every opportunity. I've successfully faced challenges. You, me, all of us, are one. I believe in the impossible. HIV and Hep C do not hold me back. The love of Jesus surpasses my wildest expectations. The LGBT community has an unstoppable energy. I always hope for more and am never disappointed by the love and laughter which permeate life. I am going to push myself further. I want to learn. The next decade will be even more spectacular than the last. With Christianity I know I will be a winner.