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Starting Your Journey With HIV

A Video Blog by Nelson Vergel

July 31, 2012

Lee en Español

Finding out that one is HIV positive is an overwhelming and scary experience. Unless you know empowered HIV-positive people who can help you navigate the next steps to gain control of HIV, searching for information on the Internet and at support groups can be a daunting experience. And most HIV primary care clinics are so burdened that they have limited time to educate someone about how to stay healthy with HIV.

As funding for treatment education has been cut by pharmaceutical companies and the federal grant process, it is imperative that educated long-term survivors serve as mentors to people who are just starting their journey as HIV positive.

As a 27-year HIV survivor and research advocate, it amazes me how many people make uninformed choices due to lack of direction and support. That is why I decided to sit down to attempt to describe the most important things that every newly diagnosed person should know.

If after watching this video you have questions, I encourage posting them on my "Ask the Experts" forum on

I hope this video saves newly diagnosed people time and worry! I may have forgotten to mention some additional important facts due to time limitations, so please feel free to leave comments in the space provided below.

Send Nelson an email.

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This article was provided by TheBody.
See Also
Outsmarting HIV: A Survivor's Perspective

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Jason (Louisiana) Mon., Jan. 16, 2017 at 4:26 am UTC
I'm a 53 year old married man and was diagnosed HIV + just 3 days ago. My family doctor, who made the diagnosis, was able to get me into an appointment the next day with a local infectious disease doctor. I'm now on Descovy and Tivicay and will follow up in 4 weeks to check cd4 and viral load levels. I"m still in a bit of a fog but very relieved my diagnosis day in now behind me.
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Comment by: Maria Osinde (Ghana) Tue., Sep. 9, 2014 at 11:47 am UTC
Thank you for providing information on the web.I went for a medical check for pre-employment.I was diagonised to be HIV positive.I felt the world has come to an me?were they my resultsor they confused?How will i break the news?I am still recovering since its not even a week.No one counselled me prior or after results.but i could see the health care team coming to peep the room where i was seated.It was a bad experience but as this was not enough i opened up to the employer and is now hesitant to take me on board in case i get sick.I know i have a will to live and i have to live positively.I will give priority to health.Currently am just encouraging myself through peoples experience as i do not want to go into depression
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Comment by: Cassie (Nairobi, Kenya) Tue., Feb. 5, 2013 at 6:17 am UTC
This is a really good video.It is great information for a newly diagnosed person. Iwas diagnosed last year and i am still learning and coping. Thanks for sharing.
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Comment by: Raul (Austin) Mon., Feb. 4, 2013 at 4:13 pm UTC
Thank you -
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Comment by: Elise (lusaka, zambia) Sun., Feb. 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm UTC
I was born with HIV and when I found out last year my CD4 count had reached the point where you have to start taking ART. I was a student then and had to start taking medication and deal with the fact that i was HIV positive. I just want to know how deal with it because i had suffered from depression as teen and i have released now. I alot people will say stay positive but it's pretty hard when you are depressed. Please help.
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Comment by: Job (Nottingham UK) Tue., Jan. 22, 2013 at 2:19 am UTC
if you are faithful to your once a day retroviral drug and you take them adequately..what is the chances that the virus would become resistance to this drugs...
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Comment by: Vitus (Africa) Fri., Jan. 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm UTC
Sir, I'm very afraid, i was told few days that my wife has infected by HIV, but my own text is HIV negative, i love too much my wife, how long did HIV last before reacting?
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Comment by: Tee (Nashville , TN) Fri., Nov. 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm UTC
I had unprotected sex with someone that told me that he had HIV (the virus) after the fact! He says his doctor said it was undetectable in his system at this time but he still has the virus. That to me means its dormat. Vaginal He ejaculated inside, I had no open wounds but I did have a break out on my thigh that i know seaman touched... Im so upset! This happen two weeks ago and I have been feeling flu symtoms sicky feelings before he even mentioned it. So Last night he broke down telling me everything, I begged him to tell me why he would do such a thing to me... His stupid answer was he knew I would never allow him to touch me if he did.. So you put my life at rish for sex? This man has asked me to be his wife and I just cant even understand why he would do such a thing to me and think I would still want to be with him! He is now asking me to get tested and saying we will never have unprotected sex again Im like are you crazy!!!! i feel its my fault bc I did not insist on protective sex we did it with the condom once but a couple of times it got missed and I dont think its right that he did not insist himself to use it! How selfish.. He was like he wanted to feel me once just once and this could cost me my life.
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Comment by: Phil Sat., Nov. 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm UTC
Brilliant video inspiring too say the least
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Comment by: Ken (New York) Sat., Oct. 20, 2012 at 7:01 pm UTC
This is a great video. Thank you, Nelson.
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Comment by: Edward (Tampa Florida) Thu., Oct. 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm UTC
Very informative and well articulated.
Thank you
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Comment by: Patrick (Houston, TX) Tue., Oct. 2, 2012 at 7:53 pm UTC
Mr. Vergel:
I been positive some 20 years and viewed your video for the first time. I believe I am informed but after listing to your video I realized just how much I have forgotten and want to thank you for the review of what one can do to improve their own situation. Like any refresher course on a topic, I would recommend to all that a periodic review is well worth the time to renew what we may have known but forgotten over the years. Thank you again for the pursuit to one’s own well being. Patrick
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Comment by: John (Terre Haute, IN) Sat., Sep. 22, 2012 at 1:17 am UTC
Thank you for the video... it was very helpful and reassuring.
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Comment by: Mr. Dallas (Dallas,TX) Sat., Aug. 11, 2012 at 12:17 am UTC
Thanks so much for the informative information on how to stay healthy as a newly HIV positive individual. Being, the 28yr old male minority being positive some days seems to be a struggle. Alot of the information you provided was very helpful in my quest in wanting to be a longterm survivor. I have been positive since Feb 2012 and it has not been a easy process. I'm still dealing with the fact of knowning the perfect timing for telling my love ones. And to not let this situation effect my dreams of becoming a Registered Nurse. Everyday becomes easier, especially knowing it is still life to be lived. Thanks, a million Nelson for allowing me and others to know it does get better!
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Comment by: Doug Collins (NYC, NY) Thu., Aug. 9, 2012 at 7:29 pm UTC
Fantastic, thank you. I will be sharing this with others.
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Comment by: jack m (peekskill n.y. 10566) Wed., Aug. 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm UTC
new to hiv meds need some support groups to get info on meds
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