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A Woman with HIV

What is it like to live with HIV infection? A young woman tells WebMD her story.
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"I was so scared in middle school. I thought, 'I can't tell anyone, no one wants to be my friend.' And it still is like that sometimes. I am OK. I am really healthy. My doctor tells me I am doing really great. I am thankful for my positive mindset. But it is hard having friendships and relationships. By now you'd think people would know a lot about HIV, but they don't. I would never tell someone I was not close to. Even when I do feel close enough to someone to tell them, I wonder. Are they going to say, 'Get away from me! Don't touch me!' The truth is that people really do look at you differently when they know you are HIV positive.

"It is hard. I have a boyfriend now and he knows and is understanding. But I know people's ignorance is not going to go away. I still think people are going to hate me or not want to be my friend when they learn I have HIV.

"I worry about my mom, still. My brother, he has told me he wishes he had it instead of me. But I say, 'No, don't wish for that, it isn't something I would ever want.' It is something you can take and make it a great thing to live your life to the fullest, or you can just be depressed about it. It would be different if you are used to living without it and then have it. I think that would be much harder.

"I do not know what it is like not to have it. I have never been sick. I've been taking the same medicine for 13 years. They changed the medicines only once because I was on the same regimen for so long. That was the only time I got sick, [which] was in reaction to the change in medicines.

"I never really got sick enough to go to the hospital. There are days I feel sick, but I have hope. I thank God because I look at others and see how much worse my situation could be. I look normal and am normal in every other aspect of my physical health.

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