In an op-ed, reporter Karl Schmid, who came out HIV+ in 2018, explains the power behind the message of Undetectable Equals Untransmittable.

Writing in LGBT glossy The Advocate, Schmid said that being diagnosed HIV+ at 27 felt like a sentence.

(Related: ABC News reporter Karl Schmid comes out as HIV-positive.)

“That shame. That disappointment in myself. That feeling that I had 'fucked up' is something I think is universally felt by people who get an HIV diagnosis,” he wrote.

“Over the coming days, weeks, months, years, I came to terms with my sentence. I call it a sentence because that’s exactly what I felt I was facing. From the moment she said, 'you’ve tested positive,' I felt like a pair of handcuffs had been slapped on me. And again, I think that’s a pretty universal feeling for people who receive an HIV diagnosis. It wasn’t until a man named Bruce Richman slid into my DMs via Twitter that I learned this couldn’t have been further of the truth. If it wasn’t for him and his tireless work along with many activists advocating the U=U message, which is based 100 percent on science (and is fact!), would still be saying (and believing) that I am 'damaged goods' or 'toxic' or 'not worth the risk.'”

Undetectable Equals Untransmittable has not just changed my life, but the lives of millions of people living around the world who believed their HIV diagnosis – even though it was no longer a death sentence – was still a sentence all the same. The problem is, the U=U science is still not getting out in the mainstream and connecting with the masses as it should. We seem stuck in the 1980s and early 90s when fear was used to shock and scare people into action,” he said.

Schmid helped launch +Life to amplify this message.

“+Life is a digital lifestyle brand that lives across all social media platforms on @pluslifemedia and at that unites and brings together people from all walks of life. All colors, all genders and gender identities, all religions and beliefs and shows us through digital programming and social posts how to turn positive into a plus,” Schmid said.