Rafael Abadia, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; Diagnosed in 1993
I couldn't tell my parents over the phone. I flew to Puerto Rico. I was really concerned about how my parents were going to take it. They're extremely religious, Christian fundamentalists. My being gay was an issue. I didn't know what to expect.
Then the day came, and I sat in my parent's living room; my mom was in the kitchen. I said "Dad, I need to speak to both of you. It's very serious." He called my mom, and my mom just kind of ignored him, she didn't want to come. They knew something was gonna be up. [laughs] When my mom came, the three of us sat in the living room, and I told them that I had AIDS.
My dad is what I call a true macho Puerto Rican man, whom I've never seen cry. He ran into his bedroom, crying -- really crying. I ran after him. I grabbed him and he put his head on my shoulder and we both cried.
To my amazement, they accepted me immediately. I thought they were going to put away the spoons, the cups, and not let me use them -- because I've heard horror stories from other people. But no, from day one, they accepted me, and they were there for me.