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This Positive Life: An Interview With Lucia

September 15, 2011

Lee en Español
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What information should every HIV-positive person know?

First, that you have to take care of yourself. Your mind is the first thing that needs to be intact. I know we talk about diets, but in my opinion, your mind is the most important. You have got to grab a hold of yourself and come to a place where you are happy with who you are.

From that point forward, you start doing all the right things for yourself. Reduce stress as much as possible. Most importantly, don't lean on drugs and alcohol to help -- I can't see how they could possibly help you. But to be clear, I'm not including marijuana in that. I'm leaving that alone, because I think there are more benefits than negatives.

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What has HIV taught you about life?

It's taught me how precious life is. It's taught me how important family is. How important your friends are.

Over the years, have you mostly kept the same friends?

Yes, I have lifelong friends from way back when I was married. But I have to admit, nowadays, I don't have enough time for friends unfortunately. [Laughs.] My commitment to doing what I'm doing really limits my free time.

Are most of these friends in Florida or California?

Most of them are in Florida. Most of them are attorneys [laughs] from my office where I worked or previous family members from when I was married.

How long were you married before you got divorced?

All together, we were together 20 years.

Wow. So were you recently divorced?

God, it feels like a lifetime, but I think it's been 10 years.

He lives in Florida?

He does.

Have you found love since?

Oh, yes. Yes.

Is it easy to find love when you're HIV positive?

No. No, it is not.

What do you think are some successful ways in which to find love?

I think when you're not looking for it to come. I'm sure you've heard that a million times. When you're not looking for it, and you are more focused on your passions, it seems to open you up to all of these possibilities -- and even a lot of people.

But I did find a really wonderful man and he's just an incredible human. He is on my side, incredibly encouraging and supportive of the work I do and who I am.

Do you think it's easier for positive people to meet or have successful relationships with other positive people?

I think it is. I think the Internet, even though that's how I met him, is probably not the best way to meet someone. I think there is something that's missing from that -- you know, that attraction that you get with a person from the get-go in a normal encounter. But I do believe that, when two positives meet, it sort of makes everything normal again.

I'm not your typical dater. Let's put it that way. I'm very conservative in whom I date. In terms of disclosure, I knew that I had to disclose before it got any further than a kiss. That was always a heavy trip to have to undergo. You know, having to tell someone, because it was his life in my hands and I was not about to destroy anyone's life. You just need to let that person make a decision. It's the right thing to do.

Looking at your own personal experiences, is disclosure the hardest part about being HIV positive?

Yes.

The other thing that's difficult is not having a role model or mentor. It's quite frightening when you test positive and there is so much you don't know. You're learning all these medical terms and you're just not sure what's going on. Your labs can be up and down, and it does take an emotional and physical toll on you if your labs are not encouraging over time. I've been very fortunate to have gotten, and still get, good ones. Very fortunate, but I can also tell you, just from observing a lot of people, how much a negative result can bring them down terribly.

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