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Nov 3, 2000

How do you keep a bright outlook having HIV yourself? Also, since you are a longterm nonprogressor, does that mean you are poz but don't take any medication for HIV? Thanks!

Response from Mr. Shernoff

I have a confirmed exposure to HIV for over 24 years. I have literally never had one day of HIV-related illness. I do take medication and have a viral load that is below the detectable level, and normal CD-4 cells.

I have never been a depressed person. When I first found out I was HIV-positive, of course it was a shock and took many months to absorb. Each month and year that passes that I am not symptomatic increases my optimism. I never stopped living or planning for my future. I have begun two different love affairs since being positive. I refuse to empower this illness to solely define who I am and what kind of quality of life I will have. I also focus on making certain that every day is lived to the fullest, and that I am in close contact with the people I love and who love me.

I hope that this is helpful.

Michael Shernoff, MSW

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