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    A Man with HIV

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


    "My boyfriend and I, we've been together almost four years. When I first found out, it was very hard for me to tell him. But I finally did, and the next day the health department took his blood and found out he was negative. Safe sex is now the buzzword for us.

    "I went through this time where I totally lost interest in sex. You equate your current situation with the fact that you had sex and that brought it on. So you totally lose interest and you want that out of your life. Now that I have come to understand HIV, and know what to do and how to prevent infecting others, I am getting back into that sort of thing, which my boyfriend appreciates."

    "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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