In the decade since he was diagnosed with HIV, Kory has not only managed his disease, he's created a life he loves.
“My diagnosis made me take a really hard look at how I want to live and how I want to be in the world.”
As Kory puts it, a diagnosis of HIV in 2006 changed “the trajectory of my life.”
Kory, a former professional dancer, was at a show rehearsal when he got the phone call from his family doctor with the news. "I regret to tell you that the results came back positive," he remembers his doctor saying. "I could hear the gravity of the situation in his voice. He had known me since I was a little boy; I guess this was the last thing he thought was going to happen in my life."
The diagnosis made Kory quit his job. It made him pack up and move to San Francisco, so that he could be closer to hospitals and doctors who were more familiar with treatment. It made him, as he says, “take a really hard look at how I want to live and how I want to be in the world.”
So, Kory changed. “I took the necessary steps to start to take care of myself as best I could,” he says. "All of a sudden, I had to take care of this thing – my body – that I never really thought about before."
Yes, Kory's day-to-day life since his diagnosis has changed, but more than a decade into this new life, he's been able to not only manage his HIV, but create a life he loves. "I have to take my meds every day. I have to eat right. I have to ensure my body is in tip top shape," he says. Kory also also prioritizes his emotional well-being. "I make sure I surround myself with positive reinforcement, positive people, good friends, family," he says. "And keep my mind active and keep myself busy."
Fortunately for Kory, his life keeps getting bigger and bigger since that 2006 phone call. He got married to the man he calls "his rock," he's on the board for the National AIDS Memorial Grove and does advocacy work for LGBT positive / HIV positive lawmakers and legislators; he's still close to his supportive family. "I didn't see myself getting married. I didn't see myself being an advocate in the capacity that I am today. I never saw myself sitting on a board of a major organization," Kory reflects. "I never saw myself leading the life that I live today – which is a pretty good life."
“My hope for the future, for myself, is that I live a long, normal life with my husband and maybe a couple kids in the mix, eventually. Of course, I would love to be rid of this disease. But whether or not that happens, time will tell. I'm a simple man. So I think that a good, long, quality life is good enough for me.” – Kory