Yannik McKie says he and his sister are one of the first double AIDS orphans in the United States. When McKie was 10 he found out his parents were both HIV-positive and that his well-educated, affluent father had infected his mother after living a secret homosexual lifestyle. Both of his parents died by the time he was 15.
“When I lost my parents I did not understand how God’s love could be reconciled with my situation,” he says. It wasn’t until he was 22 years old in a jail cell on federal gun charges that he began to realize how much God really loved him and that He had a plan for his childhood pain.
“We learn God’s love for us through our pain because we actually realize that it was Him helping us through it,” he now says.
Today McKie is a certified Christian life coach, ordained minister and counselor. He uses the pain he experienced to help others who suffer through abuse, disease and depression. He often speaks to youth to share how they can use their obstacles as stepping-stones for their future.
Last year McKie also authored a memoir, Living in the Shadows, and a portion of the proceeds from its sales go to help people affected by AIDS.
Aids in America
- Every 9.5 minutes someone is infected with HIV
- 1 miIIion people are living with AIDS
- 1 in 5 are unaware they are infected
- 18,000 people die of AIDS every year
—Centers for Disease Control