Jose Ramirez, Washington, D.C.; Diagnosed in 2000
Do not let it beat you. The worry, the scariness, don't let that affect you. The person that you were when you first went in and found out you were positive, you need to still be that person when you leave, except you just have something that you have to deal with. Don't change your outlook on life. Don't change the dreams that you have. The only thing that changes is that you have a virus.
Try not to look at the negative things. Look at the positive things. And I know that's hard at first, but you really have to be strong and you can't let HIV beat you. Because if you let it beat you, it won and you lost.
Another thing I tell people that I think others are scared to tell people is: You knew what was up. You knew when you were having unprotected sex. A lot of people know about HIV/AIDS. Everybody knows that you need to use a condom. The messages are out there. Why are you crying now? You knew there were risks when you have unprotected sex. Now you have to deal with the consequences. So be strong about it and own it. You have to own it. Take your time to be sad, but just let it be a short time and not all your life. It shouldn't be like that. It should be like, "OK, I need to be strong and I need to move forward."