As long as I live, I will never forget April 14, 2004. I was sitting with my doctor when she spoke the solemn words, “I am so sorry, Jerry, but you have HIV.”
With a heart full of despair and eyes filled with tears, I got up and walked out of her office. My body was shaking from the fear of death. For a moment, I felt I had lost all hope in life. But it was only for a moment.
I spent much of my life seeking self-worth and love, as we all do.
My journey before my HIV diagnosis was filled with many, very challenging times. I often felt like a little boy inside a man’s body who just wanted to be loved.
As I reflected on the meaning of the words, “Jerry, you have HIV,” the little boy inside this man decided to step out and into the arms of God.
In that moment of trust, I experienced incredible peace. It might sound very confusing, how a moment of such tragedy would feel so peaceful. I like to describe the moment as “peace in the midst of the storm.”
The next step toward living was to express my love for those affected by HIV/AIDS. The same year I was diagnosed,
I founded the Hughes Foundation. I began traveling to India and Africa to spread a message of hope using the story of my life’s journey.
Every child I hold who is sick from AIDS, every friend who fears social stigma if discovered to be HIV positive, and each person who refuses to hug me due to their ignorant fear of contracting HIV are powerful motivators to keep me focused on my mission.
It is my mission to give people hope through my story and example. I believe that each person living with HIV or AIDS does matter and has a purpose in life.
We have currently been in India saving thousands of children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. We are in our fourth year of House of Hope 1 (Girls) and House of Hope 2 (Boys) which are two a homes for up to 20 children orphaned by AIDS (lost both parents to AIDS) and born with HIV themselves. To support and learn more go to http://www.hfhope.org/
-Jerry Hughes, Founder & Executive Director
Wheels of Hope Video - Serving thousands of families in India receive their life-saving medications. Watch this short inspiring video.