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“I would tell someone going through HIV that everything’s going to be fine. This is not a death sentence anymore. HIV is completely manageable, don’t get down on yourself. I hope that someday people feel the same way about HIV as they do with cancer. When someone gets cancer people feel sorry for them. There’s a lot of stigmas with HIV and you have to look past it - because people are always going to have stigmas about stuff. Just knowing that there are programs out there like UNIFIED in a person’s community can educate you and help you through this. You have no reduction in your life expectancy as long as you get treatment.” (4/4)


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“I’d say the thing that’s cool is that after educating myself, family, and friends, I realized I’m not different than anybody else - I don’t need special attention - it doesn’t get me down anymore. Before I thought I was lost, damaged goods, nobody’s going to want me; I’m never going to have a family of my own; nobody’s ever going to want to spend the rest of their life with me; I’ll never get married; nobody’s ever going to want to have sex with me again. But that’s just not true. I created stigmas in my own brain about what I thought life was going to be like with this. It’s going to be seven years on December 7, so really life has gone back to normal. I don’t even think about being HIV positive. Really the only time I think of it is when I fill my pillbox for the week - it has no effect on my daily life now.” (3/4)


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“So we then went home to tell my mom. My mom freaked out because in 2005 my cousin had passed away from pneumonia since he was HIV positive. All we knew was my cousin was HIV positive and he had died. So my mom started freaking out, crying, it was a very emotional day... I felt depressed and broken. The only people who had known for the first two years were my mom, dad, sister, and brother. We didn't tell anybody else - neither my family nor myself felt comfortable with it because of what happened with my cousin. It wasn’t something anyone else needed to know until I knew more about it.” (2/4)


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“December 7, 2010, which is the same day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. That’s how my mom remembers that day - we call it D day. My dad had taken me to the doctor because they had ran some tests and wanted me to come back. I went into the doctor’s office and they told me I was diagnosed HIV positive. The only thing I could remember is that it was an out of body experience, where I was actually up here looking down on what was going on in disbelief. My doctor handed me a piece of paper with resources to call for help and treatment. I came out, my dad was out in the parking lot, and we both started to cry. He gave me this big, huge hug… he didn’t say anything to me besides ‘I love you.’” (1/4)

Introduction

Awareness: Please be sure to spread awareness of the Redefine HIV initiative to family, friends, and others in your community. The larger the reader base, the more effective the awareness initiative can be. Also be sure to check out our Facebook page 'Redefine HIV'.

Blog Post Titles/Categories: As a quick introduction to how this blog will be formatted, blog post titles/categories will be labeled as:

  • 'Positive Community' - For posts dealing with those with HIV
  • 'Positive Volunteer' - For posts dealing with those who are volunteers in the positive community
  • 'Positive Friend/Family' - For posts dealing with those who are friends or family members of someone in the positive community

Posting: I will be posting 2 to 3 times a week.