Andrew Pulsipher had a family secret he held onto for 33 years. He was HIV positive.
Before Pulsipher was born, his dad cheated on his mom and contracted HIV. Both parents later died from AIDS.
Pulsipher was raised by family members. He grew up in the 80’s at a time when there was tremendous stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS. Pulsipher didn’t know what his future held.
After meeting his now wife and getting married, things changed. For the first time, he saw a future and the possibility of living a normal life.
Pulsipher and his wife wanted to have kids but he was worried about passing the virus on.
They had a daughter, now five, through fertility treatments. But because Pulsipher’s HIV is currently “undetectable,” he was able to have his second two children naturally. Still, no one outside the family knew that Pulsipher was HIV positive — until recently.
In May of 2015 Pulsipher shared his status with family and friends. Then hoping to break down the stigma surrounding HIV, he posted a photo to Facebook showing himself and his family all holding signs. His read “HIV Positive”. His wife and children held signs that read “HIV negative”. There it was, for all the world to see.
The photo went viral and global media coverage continues.
On Sunday, October 25th The Pulsiphers become the first family to Chair the Aids Walk Arizona. It is an event put on by Aunt Rita’s Foundation, a non-profit that advocates HIV education and awareness and raises funds for 17 HIV and AIDS non-profit organizations.
Pulsipher now feels free to tell his story without shame.
He has said, “I’m a heterosexual man letting people know this is not a gay disease and it does not care what color you are or who you love. HIV doesn’t play favorites and it is a real world issue, but I am not something to fear.”