Roger Solar, San Antonio, Texas; Diagnosed in 1999
I think you have to be honest with yourself first. You have to look around as to who you're surrounding yourself with. If you surround yourself with real friends, your family who really loves you -- or you hope loves you -- you can be yourself and be honest.
You are going to have to build that little wall up because you know you're going to have one or two people who come out and turn their back on you. That hurts more than them making fun of you; the fact that they drop you and don't talk to you hurts more than anything. I wouldn't just go up to somebody and tell them, "Yes, I'm HIV positive." You do it with care and with people you trust.
People you trust. Yes, you have to be careful who you tell. Even nowadays -- I don't care what anybody says -- you see MTV putting out ads and the Logo channel putting out ads about HIV/AIDS. They look normal and they're over here saying "Yes, I have it. I've had it for this many years and I'm a normal person and everything." But in the real world, it doesn't work that way. If it didn't work that way in the medical field when I was working at the hospital -- where I had to be careful and not tell anybody -- how can the outside world that doesn't have any medical background be able to be compassionate or empathetic toward somebody who is sick?