A Shreveport resident living with AIDS says he's thankful to be alive. James Jackson was diagnosed with AIDS in February of 2010.
"I cry mainly tears of joy because I look at where I am now as opposed to where I was back in 2000," said James Jackson.
Months after being diagnosed with AIDs, he then lost his ability to see, smell, and became partially deaf in one ear.
He said it all started in the late 90s, when he went to a party, and was raped by four men. Two of them he knew. He said he didn't go to the hospital right away out of fear, and embarrassment.
"They said if I told anybody then they would do harm so I didn't know if they were serious or not."
After living in a hospice, Jackson rebounded and is now living at the Mercy Center, the only permanent housing center in North Louisiana for people who are homeless and are living with AIDS or HIV. It's affiliated with the Philadelphia Center, a non-profit that spreads awareness on AIDS and HIV and how it affects the community. The Center survives off of private donations.
"Donations are actually down so we're actually hoping to be able to raise awareness more and be able to put the word out there so that we can receive more donations, " said Latoya White, Director of Mercy Center.
Those donations will help more men and women like James Jackson, who are living with AIDS and HIV, get back on their feet, and contribute to society.