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A Man with HIV

What is it like to live with HIV infection? A young man tells WebMD his story.

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"Safe sex. I'm glad to see the push towards it and so much advertising for HIV awareness and safe sex. Young kids, I think, are like I was. At the time, I thought this will never happen to me. But it is a real eye opener to find out you're HIV positive.

"The worst part about it is the social stigma. I haven't really told anybody except for my boyfriend and my doctor. I certainly haven't told my family. There is that whole stigma about being someone with AIDS and being HIV positive. People who don't know about it, they think if you are positive you have AIDS. But other than that, it becomes part of your daily routine. Over time, it doesn't weigh so heavy on you. You figure life goes on, and whatever you can do to help yourself, like taking the meds and working out and taking vitamins and doing healthy things, means you get more out of it.

"Even from the day I found out, I have had a positive outlook. I try to think good thoughts. That has a lot to do with it. I figure there are all these statistics. But I don't want to be a statistic. I told myself if God wanted someone to have it, and chose me instead of a newborn kid or someone else, it is my load to bear and that is all right with me.

"My message for others is if you ignore it, HIV won't go away. It is very prevalent. It is not just gender specific or sexual-orientation specific. People need to be careful, and watch what they do."

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