A Woman with HIV
What is it like to live with HIV infection? A young woman tells WebMD her story.
"I plan on keeping on trucking. I plan on doing great. I wouldn't be this way without the medicines and theoretical advances and technology. And I haven't gone through half of the drugs yet, and that makes me happy. But it is a hard disease to have.
"It is a lot better now. Because I know I am going to be OK. I know it has gone this far and it is only going to get better. It is a bad situation, and I am making the best of it.
"I know now that people know more about HIV and AIDS. It is not now a hush-hush thing. On TV there is AIDS awareness. People want to help others and care. But I am not one to say, 'Look at me, this is what I have.'
"I feel like people are more aware now than they ever have been. But just because there are medicines out there, and things like MTV spots and speakers who come to schools and speak to the students - even so, young people still don't think it will happen to them. You still have to be careful.
"I think, especially for younger generations, they couldn't even imagine knowing someone with the disease. They all sleep around, they don't care. They protect themselves, but that doesn't always help. They think nobody they know could ever have HIV. They would never guess I do.
"My message to other people with HIV is that I know it is hard for people to cope with. But, living though my experience, I know it is livable. You have to keep yourself healthy and be smart. You are going to be scared. It is only natural to feel that way. But your truest friends and those who love you will be OK. If you care about them enough, they will be understanding. From what I have seen, everyone has been understanding, even though I thought they wouldn't be. Everyone has loved me more, not less, from knowing how strong a person I am. So don't be scared is pretty much my message.