Day One With HIV: Finding Out Your Status, in Your Own Words
Regardless of where or how it happened, the day you received your HIV-positive diagnosis was likely among the most intense days you'll ever live through. Some of TheBody.com's readers have generously shared their experiences -- to reflect on how they've changed, and so that others would know that they too can survive, and even thrive, following that fateful day.
How did you get through it? Want to share your "Day One With HIV" story of finding out your diagnosis? Write out your story (1,000 words or fewer, please!), or film a YouTube video, and email it to email@example.com. In the coming months, we'll be posting readers' "Day One" stories here in our HIV/AIDS Resource Center for the Newly Diagnosed.
Sometimes I Forget I Have HIV, and Sometimes I Feel Panic, Sadness or Loneliness (Posted January 24, 2017)|
By Manuel Sánchez
"Instead of feeling shocked, I kind of felt relief, because now I knew what I had," explains Manuel Sánchez about the day he found out he was HIV positive.
Testing for PrEP, I Found Out I Was HIV Positive (Posted September 21, 2016)|
"After years of negative results, I had in some illogical way convinced myself that I was above this virus," reports S. from South Africa. "After all, this time the test was just a formality before taking the PrEP step."
The Journey From Small Town Secret to Sharing My HIV Story (Posted September 13, 2016)|
By Harold R. "Scottie" Scott
Growing up on a working farm in rural Tennessee, Harold Scott never thought he would be affected by the AIDS epidemic. Then he learned his HIV status.
On the "Best, Worst Day" of My Life, I Tested HIV Positive (Posted August 29, 2016)|
By George M. Johnson
"I had just turned 25 and was about to graduate from grad school. Things were looking up for me -- but I wasn't feeling well and knew deep inside that something was wrong," recalls George Johnson. "It was November 19 to be exact, a day after my mom's birthday, when I finally built up the courage to go and get tested."
Incredibly Loud, Extremely Close: The Day I Received My HIV Diagnosis (Posted March 27, 2016)|
By Wanda L. London
"Two weeks before, my doctor assured me that I did not have anything to fear. He didn't really see the need for me to be tested," London recalls. "Well, where was he now? Why wasn't he here to reaffirm those feeling?"
Finding Myself in the Ballroom and the HIV Testing Center (Posted March 27, 2016)|
By Martez Smith
One of the hardest parts of being an HIV tester was telling someone they are positive, Smith said. Especially when testing young black men like himself. Then he tested positive and realized, "learning that you are HIV+ is a series of moments over a lifetime."
After I Cried All My Tears: Learning to Accept HIV (Posted February 21, 2016)|
By Richard Cordova
Since becoming HIV positive 13 years ago, Richard Cordova has learned a lot about himself. Learning to accept his disease did not happen overnight. But he finally reached a breaking point thanks to a song.
Unprepared Yet Resilient (Posted November 9, 2015)|
By Fabien Nové-Josserand
"I drove to the clinic oblivious to the kind of news I was about to receive. For me, it was only a formality and I was slightly annoyed that I had to drive all the way to the clinic to get a result that, I was certain, would be negative," Fabien said. "The remote possibility that I had been at risk at any time escaped me completely."
When I Learned I Had HIV, I Told Myself Life Has to Go On (Posted October 26, 2015)|
"The doc told me not to test for HIV on that particular day since it was a festive season," Gertie recalls. "I told him, 'I am not a child anymore. I wanted the truth!'"
A Life Turned Upside Down by an HIV Diagnosis (Posted October 14, 2015)|
By Angel Stetson
"I didn't know how to perceive myself upon hearing the news," says Angel Stetson. "Who was I? What did this mean? How was I going to survive, or tell my boyfriend of eight years?"
Picking Up and Learning to Make a Better Life With HIV (Posted June 17, 2015)|
By Michael Mersinger
What's it like to hear the words "you're HIV positive" from your doctor? The latest entry in our Day One With HIV series describes just that.
Clearing the Air After an HIV Diagnosis (Posted January 9, 2015)|
After an HIV diagnosis brought up old secrets, Helen learned to be more open, honest and healthy.
The Miracles That Come After an HIV Diagnosis (Posted September 29, 2014)|
By Erin Wanjira
In the midst of depression and a violent relationship, Erin was diagnosed with HIV and found her way out.
12 Years and Still Going Strong (Posted September 9, 2014)|
By Matt Lowe
I was diagnosed on Sept. 1, 2002. I remember being at the hospital to get my results. I was advised to give a false name just in case the result was negative. It wasn't!!
The Man Who Was Happy to Find Out He Had AIDS (Posted August 1, 2014)|
By Mark Milano
My problems began in 1981, when I developed a low-grade flu. I wasn't sick enough to be at home in bed, but I still felt lousy. And this wasn't the first time this had happened. I seemed to get sick all the time, even though I was only 25, went to the gym five times a week, ate well, never smoked and never did drugs.
A Military Diagnosis, and Unrelenting Support From the National Guard (Posted July 9, 2014)|
By Carl Sisco
I thought I was going to be told I had high blood pressure or diabetes, which will get you permanently barred from flying. When the flight surgeon told me I was HIV positive, everything came to a stop in my mind.
An HIV Diagnosis While in College Brings Upheaval, Questions and Contemplation (Posted June 27, 2014)|
By Jason Q
Needless to say, my life is a mess and the future that was once so clear seems so blurred and uncertain. I am simply looking to my graduation day, and trying to overcome the depression I have been fighting since my day one.
12 Years Later (Posted May 30, 2014)|
By Michael James
I left the house and just drove. Don't know how it happened, but I ended up near the local university hospital and just walked into the ER. It was very late, and there was no one there, so I approached the desk and told the attendant that I was thinking about hurting myself.
After a Car Crash, an HIV Diagnosis That Changed a Life (Posted May 13, 2014)|
I don't remember much about the next few weeks. The day I was told I was HIV positive, I was still in the hospital and recovering. The young doctor walked in and sat my mother down beside my bed, and told us that it was not a good report he was about to tell us. One of the seven pints of blood was mislabeled in the storage area and contained HIV.
On Denial After an HIV Diagnosis (Posted April 1, 2014)|
I knew full well I was positive all along, from the early 80s. Two of my former partners were quite ill and I wondered how it could not have affected me. I had essentially stopped having sex after their diagnosis. Then two years later, safe sex. So, from this, I determined it had to be the early 80s.
This led to drug and alcohol abuse. I was assuming I was going to be dead shortly.
Nightlight: On My HIV Diagnosis and Crystal Meth (Posted March 17, 2014)|
By R. Craig Stringer
In 1984, testing positive was a death sentence. When I finally did make it into the office, someone, some counselor or caseworker provided my prognosis. "Let's see, you're 21, so that means, approximately 8 years. So you could live to see 30!"
My Life With HIV "Isn't a Happy Story" (Posted January 3, 2014)|
By Shannon C.
They had called the health department; they were in the office waiting for me. The doctor came in and asked if I knew I had HIV. I said no, so they talked to me about it, and I burst out hysterically crying. I was devastated!
"I'd Always Practiced Safer Sex -- For the Most Part" (Posted November 1, 2013)|
By Daniel Mark Hall
We sat down for our results, and the two volunteers gave my partner his results first. "Adam" (not his real name), they said -- "your results came back negative, you do not have HIV." What seemed like an hour passed, as the volunteers started shuffling papers and getting some brochures ready to I assume hand me, something they did not do prior to giving my partner his results.
"I Learned the Hard Way About HIV Disclosure" (Posted October 15, 2013)|
By Debbie Gaspar
I am at work in my government job. I took my test two weeks ago. My doctor calls to tell me that I have tested positive. Then he says come into my office now so we can talk. I am crying; it is April of 1990. I have no idea what this means for me.
"Love Made My First Day With HIV a Happy Memory" (Posted September 19, 2013)|
I felt no different. I wasn't sick. I didn't need treatment. I wasn't sad. I was just unsure about what the future would hold for me, for our relationship, for our sex life.
"Blessed With an Empathetic HIV Doctor" in the 1980s (Posted August 1, 2013)|
By Rita Botha
There is not much to be said for a normal mid-suburban girl finding the man of her dreams, marrying him at age 21 and having two beautiful daughters by age 28. Except that is me, and that was my life. Until something very unexpected came and turned that life upside-down.
My husband of 10 years was always a very handsome, lean man and the loss of a couple of pounds went unnoticed. Until he got sick.
"The Most Agonizing Wait in My Life" (Posted July 16, 2013)|
The day of reckoning was on 28 January 2008. We laid my wife to rest on 22 January 2008. I had been grief-stricken and was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I turned to alcohol for solace. I had been unable to deal with the intensity of my feelings. Sooner or later I had come to the grim realization that I had to make the informed choice of testing for HIV. It had slowly struck me that you can run away from HIV infection, but you cannot hide from it.
"I Learned How Much People Can Care for Each Other" (Posted June 29, 2013)|
By Mikey Barnum
I had gotten sick. Very sick. I had a high fever, I had night sweats so bad that I woke up with soaked sheets, and even worse, no appetite. I wasn't stupid. I was well-read on the issues and knew what it meant and what it was like when someone contracted HIV. I prayed to God that I was wrong, but in my heart I knew what was happening: I was seroconverting in a bad way.
"Perhaps It Was Time to Give Up" (Posted June 29, 2013)|
By Gregory Fowler
Rather than talk now about my Day One Story, I thought I would share my personal journal entry from that day:
April 18, 1988
The end of a long day. What else can I say about it? I turned 30 years old. It's suppose to be one of those traumatic experiences, right? People at work must have thought I was taking it particularly bad. Who could I talk to? Was there anyone who could understand -- when you get to the point that you feel you whole life had ended ... and the mere fact of turning 30 is the least important thing you can think of. I thought of postponing my appointment. Something about going to find the result of my HIV test on my birthday seemed a little bit too dramatic. It was like a bad television movie. If the results were negative, I knew it would open up the rest of my life to me. I felt like it might even be a new beginning.
"I Had to Give My Baby a Chance at HIV-Free Life" (Posted June 13, 2013)|
My first day with the virus was the 27th of December, 2007. I was supposed to have my baby on the 13th of December, but no sign of dilation or contraction.
I visited the hospital on the 27th of December and I was told I couldn't have my baby alone, only with a C-section to save his life.
"Not Leukemia, but Something Far More Shocking" (Posted June 13, 2013)|
By Harold Scott
The day was a crisp, middle-Tennessee, autumn day.
I was at work at a local manufacturing company, in my small hometown of less than 1,000 residents. The week prior, I had traveled into Nashville, Tenn., to see an oncologist, because it was thought I may have leukemia, because of the symptoms I had been having for the past several weeks.
The day was Thursday, October 24, 1991. The time was 11:07 a.m.
"24 Years Later, I'm Here!" (Posted May 31, 2013)|
By Robert Toth
The day was dark, drizzly and dreary. A cold October day. Settling into the waiting room at the Public Health Center under the nom de plume "George Bush," I was somewhat nervous.
Two previous HIV tests had come back negative. I'd had a serious "event" a month or so before. Projectile vomiting, drenching sweats, chills. I "knew" something wasn't right and it wasn't strep throat.
"'Mad' Wasn't the Word That Came to Mind" (Posted May 29, 2013)|
By Bob Clark
One day in May 1989, my partner came home and told me he had both HIV and AIDS. In one moment, my life changed forever. I was tested and found to be negative -- until February 1992 when I visited the doctor for a urinary infection and was asked if I wanted an HIV test. I said no as I was having it done elsewhere anonymously.
"I Needed Support From My Family and Friends" (Posted May 24, 2013)|
By Kyle Martin
For me, finding out I had HIV was one of the worst days of my entire life. Here I was, 21 years old, admitted to a mental hospital for suicidal thoughts, and when I felt like I was on a somewhat steady path to stability, I get called into a room with a psychiatrist to tell me I was HIV positive.
I had a huge gamut of emotions ranging from sadness, to hopelessness, to regret, to depression. I will admit, I slipped into a heavy breakdown.
"A Shadow Came Over My Head" (Videos) (Posted May 23, 2013)|
By Patrick Ingram
Getting the news was the worst news so far in my then 22 years living on this earth, that was the worst news I've received in my life. I've had family members pass away, I've failed at dreams that I've had, but finding out I was HIV positive was the worst moment of my life.
The second-worst moment was having to call my partner, who was at work, drag him out of work, and call him and give him the news.
"Coming Out of the Second Closet" (Posted May 1, 2013)|
By Jason McDonald
I am ashamed to admit that I, like so many gay men, buried my head in the sand when it came to HIV. Like many in the gay community, I too had become fatigued with hearing about safe sex, HIV, AIDS, etc. I subconsciously, but purposely, avoided taking an HIV test, because I wanted to live the illusion that my IV meth use and the activity that goes along with that lifestyle would have no consequences to my health. And HIV was the unspoken pink elephant in the room amongst modern gay guys. The only time HIV was ever mentioned was when gossip and speculation over someone's status became the topic of the moment.
"I Had Never Actually Met Anyone Who Was Positive" (Posted April 28, 2013)|
By Erin Gingrich
March 16, 2010. I remember it so vividly. I was in an in-patient drug treatment facility, 21 days sober and angry at everyone. When I got the news that my HIV test was confirmed positive, I thought I was receiving my death sentence. I now know, that was actually the moment I was blessed with a new life.
I grew up quite sheltered, in the small farming and military town of Yuma, Arizona. When the AIDS epidemic first surfaced in the early '80s, the terror of the disease was my biggest fear. I stayed out of trouble as a child, was a gifted classical pianist and had hopes and dreams of making my mark in the world.
19 Years Ago Today, "I Was Given What I Thought Was a Death Sentence" (Posted April 4, 2013)|
By Gina Marie Brown
On this day in 1994 ... I walked into Charity Hospital's obstetric clinic, made my way to the nurse's office, and immediately knew something wasn't right; she wouldn't look at me. And then she said, "You have AIDS and you're going to die."
It was devastating, embarrassing, and heartbreaking. I'd finally gotten my life on track. I was so afraid of dying AND of having anyone find out my HIV status. I told my mother, sisters, and my children's father ... and no one else. I was also afraid because I was pregnant at this time.
This article was provided by TheBody.com.
Comment by: Craig
Mon., Mar. 7, 2016 at 8:38 am UTC
I'd been abjectly terrified of HIV for 30 years, since i was a late teenager. I'd made many poor life choices because of this fear.
Finding out I was positive was a total shock, and pretty much everything from the moment i found out is a blur. i alway thought i'd been so careful. How did this happen, who gave this to me (don't be stupid you're responsible for your choices no one else)..Just a total blur of thoughts - what are the Drs going to record, who will they tell... Fear, paranoia, fear.
What surprised me though, was that I felt relief, i would no longer live in fear.
What got me through the day was the first ER doctor who saw me. He came in, said i'd be fine, that the infectious diseases doctor would see me soon and left. He came back 5 mins later and said "Craig, I need to apologise to you. I only just read that you just found just a few hours ago"... Then he sat and talked to me for a good hr until the ID doctor came.
It was a wonderful act of kindness and humanity; I cannot thank him enough for that!!!
Comment by: David Makoae
Tue., Oct. 20, 2015 at 5:24 am UTC
one would swear that this is a no easy day. I was diagnosed yesterday around this time and got a real up lifting support from my best friend.i gave me this website and said it would help.i cant lie I feel like its the beginning of the end.and I just had a son about a month ago.i wish someone would just tell me its ok and am gonna live 50 more years.all am about now is seeking the face of God and his glory.i tell myself that even in this time he Is still Jehovah and he wil se me through and in this name I am made well and will see my son grow.
Comment by: barbie
(baton rouge la)
Tue., Mar. 24, 2015 at 8:55 pm UTC
I just found out yesterday I cried all day I felt it was over I couldn't look in the mirror bit this morning I got up looked in the mirror an smiled an said I'm a fighter
Comment by: angel77
Mon., Oct. 6, 2014 at 4:41 pm UTC
The day I found out that I was HIV-POS I had just taken the test at church along with my 2 sons.. Myself& 1 son came back POS and was told to come to Baltimore for more test to be performed since the test we took previously was the swab test...I remember praying the hardest I've ever prayed in my life for my son to be NEG and for GOD to give it all to me.. He was a senior in HS just ready to start college...When we took the test ..GOD had answered my prayers.. My son came back NEG & I was still HIV-POS..I cried for joy. I was praying thanking GOD for the results for my son. The Dr. in there stopped me to tell me that my test was POS..I told him I knew and was so happy it was and my sons wasn't....I bet I'm the fist person ever to jump for joy after finding out that they were HIV_POS...I would die for all of my kids....
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Comment by: David Makoae
Tue., Oct. 20, 2015 at 5:30 am UTC
the holy spirit is there with you,and you are greatly blessed.seek first the kingdom of God and all others shall be given to you.nothig is imposible with God.i was dignosed yesterday and I just got a son about a month ago.
Comment by: Liz
Fri., Sep. 19, 2014 at 8:38 am UTC
Learning my status was quite a shock. Here I was in my last trimester then this doctor says im positive. No counselling wad evr done and I went into denial for two yrs. I never shared my result with anyone and lived in constant fear of dying. Im glad I was retested two yrs down the line again. Once again no counselling was done but I was lucky I was with my mum who was a nurse then. It was a struggle beating stogma and financial constraints but im glad 16 yrs down the line I can tell the story. Ive gone public and HIV nlonger fazes me out. I thank God im alive and licking.
Comment by: Tasha
(St. Louis, MI)
Sat., Jun. 28, 2014 at 8:15 pm UTC
I'm a 38 year old single mother of three beautiful children. Two days ago I tested positive for HIV. I have told no one. I don't know how to tell my mother or my babies. I'm having a VERY difficult time with this. I need to talk to someone. I need help.
Comment by: Thida
Thu., Jun. 5, 2014 at 8:06 am UTC
I and my boyfriend have been living with each other for more than one year. last month we went to have HIV test, we were waiting to get the result , the result was my boyfriend had HIV and I didnot have, I want to ask how many percentage that I got HIV from my boyfriend because after we got the result he seem wants me to have HIV the same sa him, we had sex three times. I wanted to go away from him because I knew that he is not honest with only me, after I got the result I got another bad result that there was another young girl who live with him more than two year and she did I not know that he had HIV. I was trying to beg him to bring her to the hospital to test, but he did not agree with , i want to ask if she does not know that she has HiV and cannot treat on time what happen to her and Is there any Risk to her. I know myself maby I got HIV from him I will go to test again next month if I have HIV I can treat on time , but she does not know
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Comment by: Anonymous
Tue., Jul. 28, 2015 at 9:55 pm UTC
Your boyfriend should not be trying to infect you, my advice would be to leave him, he does not care for your well being.
To the young lady you speak of try and reach out to her to let her know of her possible risk and usually with medication health will improve.
Comment by: Thaka
Fri., May. 23, 2014 at 6:45 am UTC
I thought HIV was only for Black ppl but I was wrong everyone is affected if not infected...
Comment by: vicky kennamer
Fri., Feb. 28, 2014 at 12:02 pm UTC
The day I found out 2004 the doctor office call me on my cell phone.the news shock me to point of wanted end my life. A death sentence any way. However; I called the aids hot line. They really helped me to under stand with the new medicine I could live a longtime. No insurance? What do I do? A chastity hospital saved my life. At 42,now I am 54 and I am still here. God willing after all, he brought in this world, Its his decision when I go. Women don't get this. I only had sex with men but I did not use protection I from the seventies. Free love rock n roll. Boy was I dumb, Its just a gay disease, I don't use needles, however; my partner did. He also knew he had Hiv,He never told me . I could have used protection. I went seven years not knowing until I had aids. Yes upset mad! This virus told my career I had to quit my job. Wait on divinity for two years. I am so thankful for Ryan White.I made it. May I live to see a cure .
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Comment by: Anonymous
Wed., May. 14, 2014 at 8:07 am UTC
I feel you.
God Bless you long life.
Comment by: Tai
Mon., Feb. 17, 2014 at 1:29 am UTC
I find these stories are brave and inspiring. HIV is an illness that can wreck havoc in people's lives but it's encouraging to see modern medicine really pave way for health and longevity.
I hope for the sake of others and yourself, that people get checked up. It's just not fair on yourself or your partners to be in the dark about your status. Even if diagnosed as positive, there is help.
Comment by: Anthony
Tue., Dec. 31, 2013 at 6:04 pm UTC
The day I found out is one I will never forget. It was 7:45pm at night. The day before 9/11. I think I was mostly in shock that I had gotten it because I felt young and invincible. That day changed my life from drugs and alcohol to one of sobriety and pursuing the dreams of my childhood. Today I am in a loving and health relationship. My partner is my best friend, confidant, and makes me smile and laugh. I have to admit if I had still been negative I might not be alive. That doesn't mean that living with HIV is easy because it is not a walk in the park. There are times that I feel physically and mentally tired from the fight. But I know that if I continue there will be and has been others I have reached out my hand to assist. That day changed me, my outlook on life, and the direction I was taking it.
Comment by: IB
(New York, NY )
Mon., Dec. 9, 2013 at 9:48 pm UTC
I am currently going trough what I believe to be my "seroconverting" process. I got tested early today and picking up my results tomorrow. I am very certain that "it will happen", I am nervous, sick, heartbroken and disappointed at myself, because I had plenty of warnings but kept going, kept pushing it and now "it will happen". I don't know what to do next, I am so confused, I am afraid. I have just applied for graduate school at a foreign country but I don't think I will be allow to move there if I am Poz.. :(
Comment by: unknown
Thu., Oct. 17, 2013 at 1:25 pm UTC
Im TOO SCARED TO TELL ANYONE ABOUT MY STATURES BECAUSE I DON'T know how they are going to react ,im saying this because i dont keep friends ,always in doors and im away from my family because of work
Comment by: Wendy Robinson
Sat., Aug. 10, 2013 at 5:24 pm UTC
My Granddaughter was told she was HIV positive when she went to her baby doctor. From the day she came home and told us she has never been the same. She had a little girl 1 year ago and she is now hiv free. My granddaughter will not take her meds, I cannot make her take them she is 24 yrs. old. I can tell that she is waiting to die. She has not wanted to get too close to her baby. She loves her for sure but she really feels she will die soon. She took the meds for a while, then she quit for about 1 year, then she tried to take them again and quit and again and quit. Now it has been at least a year or so and she is still not taking the meds. How can I help her, she lives with us and her baby as well. Please help me help her. She is a beautiful 24 year old who does absolutely nothing and is just waiting to die. Please help us. Thank you Wendy a very concerned Grandmother
Comment by: dolores lucas
Thu., Aug. 8, 2013 at 4:26 pm UTC
i like to tell my story how i got the hiv and have and baby was sick was take blood very to see it baby will be sick she was luck it was the 1989 i got afer she was 7 mouth old, the baby was get test very time she see the doc, mayby i got c to take baby out.
Comment by: Anonymous
Sat., Jul. 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm UTC
For 10 years I have been crying, when I learned my only daughter who was 17 at the time came to me crying, she learned she was HIV positive, having lost my first born a still birth, I prayed to God for another baby just like the first one I lost.
And now I'm losing my second baby, I died that day when she told me she was HIV positive, and I blamed even though I was married and divorced, she was my reason for living. I stopped living because I can't find a reason to live, I don't see happiness, I don't see humanity anymore, because what I loved and cherished te most my breath of life, is dieing slowly, and so I too choose to die, even though I am alive, but not alive.
I can't find me anymore, I don't care about me anymore, all I want is to close my eyes and see my child whole again as she was when she was healthy, I can't accept this, I'm lost. I refuse to have a man or remarry because my baby is alone, without the longevity in life she is deserving of. I pray everyday for God to please heal my child, or take me and let her live, because I can't live if she can't live too. She gave birth to my first grand baby she is 3 years old, and I cry because of the innocence and pure love she has for her Mom, unaware that her Mom is sick. I look at my child and I don't see my baby, because the illness has such a decaying effect on her face, I have lost my strength and my will to live but she doesn't and I will never reveal this to her because I just want to see her happy, to see her smile, and observe the precious moments loving her baby, my grand baby. I love my child and I question God, why did you allow this to happen to my child, my only baby, and I can't conceive anymore, I hated God for not protecting my child, and I question God's existence,and I have loved and worshiped God all my life, and he stood by and did nothing to protect my child from a premature death. I still pray that there is a cure for HIV, and I believe there is, but they refuse to market the cure.
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