The author, Tom Weise, was in Germany studying political science when he was diagnosed with HIV. Afterwards, he left Germany to travel to New York, in the United States. "I also wanted to be a journalist, I wanted to become the next Anderson Cooper." However, his big dreams came to a halt and he was forced to live illegally in the USA.
“I was blocked by the fact that the US government banned immigrants infected with HIV to enter the country. When I was in the US in 1995 I got a six-month visitor visa but I was trying get a green card when I found out that because I have HIV I wasn’t allowed to do it by law”, which unintentionally made him an illegal immigrant.
“This law is no longer in place. However, at that time (in the 90s) only two other countries had the same law, it was Saudi Arabia and Libya”, he recalled.
He didn't know the law existed when he arrived in the US. “I was already in the country when I found out that there was a law that prevented any immigrant with HIV from getting a green card, getting a job or anything. So, for me that meant I had to give up all my dreams, to live as an undocumented migrant and that was the beginning of my story. My life has changed dramatically”, which pushed him into the oldest job in history.
This book intends to be a journal that tells the story of a “European gay man living with HIV that left his continent to go to another to find a better life and in his case he was disappointed by the politics of that country and he found out that was not going to be easy to live there. However, he didn’t give up.”
Regarding to his target market, he told me that his book is targeted to anyone. “I want people that are not gay, that are not HIV positive, that are not emigrants to know the struggle I passed through when I wanted to go abroad, but I also want people to know that there’s hope. That’s really a story.”
Now, living in Lagos, Portugal, Tom Weise decided to write this memoir to share a message: “not to give up, even when the obstacles are tough. There’s no obstacle high enough that you can’t overcome. Even the fact of being infected with HIV helped me to live my life much more consciously than before”.
After all, when I asked what kind of advice he would give a young person with HIV, he said: “Don't be afraid of anything. Live and love!"
“Living off the Edge” is available from Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Living-Off-Edge-Tom-Weise-ebook/dp/B07GVP5F9N