KUALA LUMPUR: When singer-songwriter Nicholas Snow was told by a doctor that he could have contracted HIV because of a prolonged illness, he just ignored it.
He left with a scheduled follow-up appointment but never showed up for it.
“I believe I was in denial. I knew there was a possibility but I didn't want to confirm something like that,” said the 49-year-old Snow, who is currently based in Bangkok.
He subsequently took the test and was confirmed to be HIV-positive.
“I became HIV-positive decades into the AIDS epidemic, completely armed with the knowledge to protect myself. It was a bit shocking to me,” said Snow, who had unprotected sex in the past.
Snow, who is also an actor and a journalist, decided to open up after months of soul searching.
“I decided it was my moral responsibility to tell my story to prevent others from making the same mistake,” he said.
Last year, the American came up with “The Power To Be Strong” HIV Testing/Safer Sex Awareness campaign, the cornerstone of which is a song and music video with the key message of “getting tested and live longer, and be strong.”
“The lyrics of my song are about empowering people who are both positive and negative,” said Snow, who is currently in Kuala Lumpur to promote the campaign in conjunction with the International AIDS Memorial Day yesterday.
The English language music video is available in 20 subtitled versions, including Bahasa Malaysia.
Snow said those suffering from HIV had a responsibility to stop spreading it and seek early intervention while those without the illness must adhere to safe sex practice.
The music video can be viewed at www.facebook.com/ThePowerToBeStrong