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Teniecka Hannah

April 3, 2007

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By Erika Nelson

Teniecka
Boutte's Photography

About Teniecka
Age: 27
Home: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Diagnosed: May 2001

Teniecka trusted her boyfriend. They'd been together for two years. She was monogamous and thought he was, too -- then she tested positive for HIV. It took Teniecka a full year to wrap her mind around being HIV positive and to seek the support of an AIDS organization. Her family also had a difficult time coping with the news, but they are now her biggest source of support. "Since testing positive for HIV, I look at the world from a very new perspective. Life is a precious treasure and if taken lightly can be gone in moments. ... I am especially thankful, honored, and blessed to have an opportunity to help and not just sit back. ... At the end of the day, I want to know I made an impact on someone." Teniecka is a student at Colorado Christian University studying organizational management in human resources. She plans to eventually get her master's degree in business management. She has also fallen in love. Teniecka and her HIV-negative fiancé are planning a wedding and expecting their first child.

Updated May 2008

I'm here today with Teniecka Hannah, who recently returned from a tour of the United States with Operation Get Tested. She spoke at colleges and high schools about being HIV positive and the importance of getting tested.

Teniecka, let's start at the beginning. How did you find out you were HIV positive?

I found out I was HIV positive when I went to go visit my family in another state. I had what I thought was a sore throat. I went to the doctors and they said I had esophageal thrush. I was wondering what that was and the doctor told me it was a yeast infection of the throat. After running the test they told me that I was HIV positive.

What state were you in? You were visiting your family?

Yes. I was visiting my parents, and they were in Missouri.

This was on a military base? Is that right?

Yes, it was on a military base.

Once you tested positive, what did you do?

When they gave me the news as to my results being HIV positive I really didn't do too much. Actually, when the man told me I was positive I just said, "OK."

Do you know how you were infected?

Yes. I was infected by my boyfriend of two years in a long-term, monogamous relationship -- [a relationship] that I thought was monogamous. Actually, I found out he was married, with children.

How old were you when you started seeing your boyfriend? How did you start dating?

I was nineteen when I met him. He claimed that he was 27, but it turned out that he was really 41. I met him while working at a retail clothing store. He was a new employee. One day we started talking in the break room. He told me he was single and asked if I would be interested in dating. I said yes. The relationship started out with us going to the movies, the mall and to dinner. That's how we started getting involved with each other. Anyway, no protection was ever used.

How did you find out he was married?

I found out he was married when I went to visit him and I heard a woman's voice in the background. I had gone to my boyfriend's place unexpectedly for the simple fact that I thought it would be a nice surprise. When I rang the doorbell and he answered, I heard a female voice ask him who it was. He replied, "A girl scout." I asked him who that was. He just ignored my question and told me I had to leave. I found out later that she was his wife because she found a way to contact me. His wife found out I was with him because I had given him some Christmas gifts with my name on them.

Did he ever acknowledge having HIV?

No. He never did acknowledge having HIV and I never found out if the wife was positive either.

What did you say to him when you found out you had HIV?

Well, I had one encounter with him, a telephone call. I told him, "I'm HIV positive -- I just got my result recently and I'm HIV positive."

What he said was, "Are you on medicine? What are the doctors doing?" He began to argue with me and really put blame on me, like I gave it to him, that it was my fault that I was HIV positive.

What did you say?

Well, we were on our last legs. The relationship was going down anyway, so after that last conversation with him, I had no other contact with him in any way, shape or form.

How did you process your diagnosis? At first you just said, "OK.", and that was it. What happened after that?

Well, I didn't tell anyone, actually. The military people told my mother and my mother then told everybody in my family. It took a few months for me to actually process what this HIV status meant, because I didn't really understand. I had never known anything about it. I wasn't even taught in school about this disease, so it was really new to me. I really didn't want to deal with any of it.

So I was really going through a lot of mixed emotions. I was angry at myself for being so foolish. I was very sad and disappointed. I didn't know where I was going to go from there. I thought it was an automatic death sentence, and there was nothing for me to do.

How did you get beyond that point?

After my family came around -- it took them a long time to come around -- but they finally started coming around and being supportive. And I had my faith with me the whole time. My dependence on God was a lot of how I got through. Without my faith I wouldn't have [had] anything to turn to, no one to turn to, because my family wasn't supportive of me at first. The only thing I had was my Lord. I held onto that so tight because that's all I had.

Are you a Christian?

Yes, I am.

What was your family's initial reaction?

My mom was not happy. She was not happy. She was very angry. I remember her stating specifically to me, "Look at your body. Look at what you did with it. I gave it to you. After 18 years look what you've done." I didn't really know what to take away from that statement because it's not like I went out there and intentionally did this to myself. I didn't purposely go out there and set myself up to have this happen to me.

At this point, you've obviously made use of other resources that are out there, and you're on this national tour. How did that come about? How did you go from being diagnosed to a point where you were able to speak out and be this visible, public person?

Well, [laughing] it did take a long time. I really had a hard time wrapping my mind around and really grasping what this HIV status meant. When I was going to a doctor where I'm living now, [in] Colorado Springs … [he] referred me to the organization I'm dealing with now.: The Southern Colorado AIDS Project. The [AIDS Project] were mostly my support. My family wasn't really supporting me. They referred me to places where I could get dental health, because I didn't have a dentist. They were referring me to places where I could get my medicines, because I didn't have any insurance at the time. They were helping me to get insurance. I needed labs drawn. I didn't know that. They were helping me use Ryan White [the Ryan White CARE Act] to get my labs drawn. They were really helping me do a whole bunch of things I didn't even know I was going to need, until they [told] me: "You have to get this and this done, so you have to go here and here." They were so great at helping me with that.

After everything you've learned, what advice would you give to someone who just found out they were HIV positive?

I would tell them that, yes, there is life after being HIV positive. Yes, you will feel very terrible and bad once you have had that diagnosis, but [you've got to] continue to have a positive, optimistic attitude towards the rest of life, because life doesn't stop after your diagnosis, life keeps going on. As life goes on you have to keep that attitude of optimism and not just look at the bad things [related to] HIV. While it does have its side effects and bad things that go along with it, there are positive things about being HIV positive.

What are they?

For me, personally, it's being able to share my story amongst youth and my peers. I'd like them to know what I had to go through. [I share] my experience and my story. I wouldn't want a single person to have to walk in my shoes, not even for a single day. [I wouldn't want anyone] to know what it is to be HIV positive. So the positive thing I take away is getting to share my story, getting to be out there to help people understand and know about it. Still, people do not understand, and there [are] still stigmas and stereotypes out there associated with being HIV positive.

What do you think is the best thing that you have learned since testing positive?

Well, the best thing is that I've grown. I've grown a lot through this challenge. My parents could probably testify to that. It's given me a lot of character and definition to myself. This is a challenging thing. It's not any easy thing -- pop -- and then you're done. It's not an easy road. When you have to disclose it makes it even harder. [You know that] they are going to view you and look at you and perceive you [differently]. I just thank God everyday that I have a second chance to go out there and speak and share!

You've talked about changing since your diagnosis and having more character. If someone had met you several years ago, when you were HIV negative, and then met you again now, what do you think they would notice?

When I was without HIV, I was a very selfish person and I didn't care about anybody but myself. Now, I look at it in a whole different way because life is so precious and it's so valuable. I was just frittering my life away. I just cared about me, [I was] really selfish. I'd say my selfishness has gone away. I've been more open and more compassionate.

Let's talk switch gears for a minute and talk about racial identity and HIV. Do you think it's different for African Americans living with HIV?

I think it is a little bit different for African Americans having HIV. The African Americans I know, that I personally grew up with and surround me, [I think] their views are skewed. I don't know how they got skewed, but they are. It's like trying to tell someone that something's good for them and they don't want to hear it. The black community sometimes has a way of not wanting to listen and hear what HIV is about.

What do you think causes that? Could you be a little bit more specific?

I think it's mostly about education. If they're not educated about HIV in their communities or their schools or whoever they associate around, friends and whatnot, then they don't know. If they're not educated … then they're going to be ignorant about how HIV can be contracted, what you can do to be protected and things like that.

Do you come across denial or myths about HIV?

I haven't come across those personally myself, so I would have to say, no, I haven't come across any myths. I hear about them, and I'm really stunned and I listen. I've never come across anyone talking to me about their myths. So, no.

What do you think are the big misconceptions about HIV in the black community?

I think one [misconception] is that they really think it's a gay white man's disease and that if you're African American and you get HIV there has to be some weird thing that you did to even have HIV. I think they really think it's a gay white man's disease, and it's not going to come into their neighborhood.

What's it like to be an HIV-positive person in the black community? What is it like interacting with other black folks? How do they treat you? How do they deal with your status?

Well, I would have to say that I live in an area where black people are, but they are very scattered. Even if you try to tell a certain person, they'll look at you funny, like you're an alien from outer space, and you can't really talk to them. It's sad. It's really sad, that I can't even talk to my own race, because [when] they look at me, they already discriminate against me because of my HIV status.

What do you think the barrier is? How do you think educators can get the information out there and end some of that stigma?

I think educators just need to have more programs like Operation Get Tested ... just getting into the high schools and getting into the universities is a big, big thing. That will make a big difference because if they know … [about HIV] at [a] younger age and they take that over to their college life and their university they'll be more aware. As I was saying, nobody taught me about HIV. Nobody taught me about these STDs [sexually transmitted diseases]. I was not privileged enough, or privy, to any of that information. When I was taught sex-education that is basically what it was, sex education, none of it useful for anything that would come along having to do with sex.

"We need to be more open, and more trusting because it's a problem in our community and African Americans are the race with the most HIV infections."
What do you think the biggest challenge for African Americans is in terms of HIV?

I think the biggest challenge is knowledge about HIV -- the knowledge and people not disclosing [their HIV status]. It's like when they see something, they don't want to talk about it. When they hear about it, they don't want to talk about it. We need to be more open, and more trusting … because it's a problem in our community and African Americans are the race with the most HIV infections.

What do you think causes that denial and that unwillingness to be open and talk about HIV and prevention?

[Sighs.] I have to say, I really don't understand why that would be. It's just the knowledge and the education. It needs to be out there. It needs to [be taught] more. It's not [enough to] just give them a pamphlet so they can read it, because some people aren't going to read a pamphlet. They'll put it down. There needs to be someone like them, from their own race, that can tell them, "Hey, this happened to me. And …, as it happened to me, it could happen to you. You need to be careful."

Since you have been diagnosed, what's your health been like? Are you on meds?

Yes, I am on medications. My health has been up and down, depending on which meds they've put me on, but for the most part I've been very healthy. All I'm worried about is trying to lose a little bit of weight, and then everything will be fine for me.

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See Also
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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Irene (Uganda-africa) Sat., Mar. 5, 2011 at 3:38 am EST
I thank u so much for such a good and encouraging story,its also difficult for u.s here to disclose but i ask u to atleast be a friend i can talk too about hiv coz iam also positive thanx.
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Comment by: KENYATTA (MIA) Thu., Dec. 9, 2010 at 1:03 pm EST
HELLO, I READ YOUR STORY YESTERDAY AND I WAS TOUCHED. I WAS INFECTED BY MY DAUGHTERS DAD 17 YEARS AGO. HE TOLD ME NOTHING AND HE DIED MONTHS LATER MY DAUGHTER WAS AND IS HIS ONLY CHILD. THANKFUL THAT SHE NEVER TESTED POSITIVE AND I HAD 2 SONS AFTER THAT NEITHER ARE POSITIVE. KEEP YOUR HEAD UP AND BE BLESSED. I HAVE MANY DAYS OF STRUGGLING WITH IT BUT I WILL NOT LET IT GET THE BEST OF ME. BECAUSE I KNOW GOD WON'T PUT NOTHING ON ME THAT I CAN'T BARE. I JUST GOT ON MEDS AFTER ALL THOSE YRS AT FIRST IT DIDN'T LOOK GOOD BUT NOW WITH THE MEDS IM ON I GOT NEWS THAT I AM UNDETECTED. THE HARDEST PART OF IT ALL WAS TELLING MY KIDS. TO SEE THEM CRY IT BROKE MY HEART IN A MILLION PIECES. PRAY FOR ME AS I PRAY FOR YOU.
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Comment by: gail (jhb,south africa) Thu., Sep. 9, 2010 at 7:55 am EDT
I'm so proud of you guys!!!
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Comment by: Dee (U.K.) Sun., Jun. 6, 2010 at 2:24 pm EDT
Thanx for the encouragement girl! As you say, there is still so much stigma... I hope and pray that one day people realise HIV is just like any other illness! God bless.
Ps. At Rudo(Coventry, UK), how can l get in touch with you- would love to chat/meet?
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Comment by: ODEMUYIWA ALBERT (LAGOS NIGERIA) Tue., May. 25, 2010 at 1:25 pm EDT
LADY, I LOVE YOUR COURAGE AND HOW YOU TOOK YOUR CASE. GOD WILL SEE YOU THROUGH.
CONTINUE YOUR THERAPY AND GET CLOSER TO GOD.
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Comment by: tenese (london, uk) Thu., Apr. 29, 2010 at 7:16 am EDT
I have been diagnozed about 3 days ago. all i can think about is kill myself. I never suffered from any king of sexually transmitted disease or been in multiple relationships. how long do I have before i die. your story is inspiring but i am just full of guilt and thinking how could i be so stupid.
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Comment by: Andrew (zambia) Mon., Apr. 12, 2010 at 7:48 am EDT
Am 26 wish i cud have the courage to go for an HIV test am just so scared of the results. Your story is so inspiring, stay blessed
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Comment by: Fri., Feb. 19, 2010 at 9:25 pm EST
i,m so proud of you that took a lot,s of couage
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Comment by: angela miller (nathalie va ) Tue., Feb. 16, 2010 at 1:50 am EST
I respect you gurl for gettn tested becaz I'm scared to I just don't want to know luv you
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Comment by: KENYATTA (MIAMI, FLORIDA) Thu., Dec. 9, 2010 at 1:05 pm EST
sweetie its better to know then not to know, if you know you can fix it, not knowing you cant do anything to help yourself. do it for you


Comment by: Ashamed (FL) Sun., Jan. 24, 2010 at 12:24 am EST
I am 28 years old and I was diagnosed three months before I graduated college. I still don't know how long I had the disease prior to that date or who gave me the disease. It's been 7 years and I'm still angry and sad...angry because that unknown person willingly took my life and threw it away. Sad because I feel so lonely inside. I've only told my sister, who is my biggest supporter, and I've been undetectable since end of 2003 - my diagnosing year. But as I look back on my life and the decisions I made, the men I trusted, I'm angry with myself, constantly asking WHY ME? I want a healthy life, to be married with kids and as a black woman with HIV, I don't see that happening. So I remain loonely and depressed and angry and sometimes I wish I didn't wake up. Yeah there is life after HIV but is it really life if I'm afraid to disclose my status in a means to lift this heavy burden from my heart? Is it still life if I want to be married and have kids without being perceived as a walking time bomb and dead girl walking? This isn't life for me and I just await the day my Lord calls me home.
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Comment by: KENYATTA (MIAMI, FLORIDA) Thu., Dec. 9, 2010 at 1:09 pm EST
hi, don't be ashamed, be thankful and give God thanks for each day. yes it is life after the diagnosis, because all ppl are not ignorant to hiv anymore. you can find good support out here and live. just pray and God to help you. be blessed


Comment by: Ronel (Moselbay south africa) Mon., Dec. 14, 2009 at 2:45 am EST
I am negative. my boyfriend tested positive in 2009. we broke up for a while last year when he met a girl and got infected. He went for testing i insisted. it was positive and he was shocked. we cried together for 1 week after that we planted a tree telling that we are going to sit under this tree when we are old people. we got married i love him more than ever. HIV changed him into the man i want him to be. we practice safe sex. we have a normal life. we life healthy every morning. we wake up we thank the lord and each other for the day. we are together. i love reading your live stories. i learn alot from you all. Even if something happens and i get infected from my husband i'm not afraid of this disease. MY HUSBAND IS ON MEDS. I make sure he takes his med. I keep him happy i motivate him and give him lots of love. thanks every one! love you all! keep on writing every day i read i do learn a lot. ronel
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Comment by: S (Las Vegas, NV) Wed., Dec. 2, 2009 at 12:12 am EST
Hello Teniecka. I just read your story and it IS inspiring. After having my results for a little over 5 months, it is still VERRRRY difficult to deal with the fact that I am HIV positive. I'm a fabulous 40, with no kids. I felt initially, like most, my life was over. I was just rethinking today about the opportunities that have been taken away from me by the person I trusted and was having unprotected sex with (the only person I was having sex with for a few years). He is not the only one at fault for this because I could have attempted to use protection, but he is totally at fault for going out and being unprotected with others (even though we were not in a relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend, but friends). It is good to know that there are still some mature negative men out there that can see past the disease and really see the person and commit to them without focusing on the misfortunes of that persons past. I've only told my family, one friend, and the person that infected me. The worst thing that has happened since knowing my status and sharing it is that he was not and has not been supportive. I just continue to pray for us both and get my labs and results as needed. I am proud to say that my labs were extremely better that I thought they would be and improves on the second testing My T-Cell count is about 440 and my viral load was only about 880. These results are all without any prescription meds. I go for my third results next week and I know they will be even better than before, because GOD has his hands on me and is working his magic. GOD is the best meds available for us all. I wish you continued success, great health, tons of happiness, and congrats on you upcoming marriage. This is the first time I have posted anything about myself or shared with the outside world. It was helpful for me to do this. Thanks again for your story. I hope I can continue to share.
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Comment by: Onyash (ORongai Kenya) Sat., Nov. 7, 2009 at 1:54 pm EST
Sorry mate. I will do my best to be a loving husband when i final make a decision to be one. I am under pressure to indulge but I choose to go through my relationships with my eyes open. Never fixed a woman. Under pressure from myself. deep within I want to indulge but the joys of decency and integrity supersede the short lived sexual pleasure. Its Un-African to have not fixed a woman at my age: almost 30 today! I have just participated in a poll and i learned that African And African Americans get HIV+ because they are Homophobic. Want to prove that we are a real men. Real men are Heterosexual and to prove this men my age go round the states and this continent sowing their seeds. I choose to wait for her and treat her with decency. He didn't treat you with respect and lied to your love. Dee (New York, NY) What you want for your daughter is what i have always wanted for my girl. Y'all Wish me luck as I live my life and love life. Its what we all have in common whether HIV- or HIV+ chao. People-Its difficult but worth it and will last a lifetime. In fact living in a Country and continent full of lions in the wild. Them as kings running around with lionesses, men In Africa feel like pulling such stunts and many do it. It devastates. The pressure devastates but People I will pull through. Wish me luck once again.
Never give up educating your friends and neighours.
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Comment by: Deen (NANJING, CHINA) Fri., Nov. 6, 2009 at 8:57 am EST
Go a step further lady. I want you to confront the Lord. You must on the day you read this ask the Lord to cure the desease from your body.I pray for you in the name of our Holy Gost, to cast out that devilish virus from your body. Use your body to spread the gospel in its health condition. Amen. Remember to retain your faith.
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Comment by: Dee (New York, NY) Mon., Oct. 26, 2009 at 7:06 pm EDT
I found out in 1997 that I was infected. I'd been with my husband since 1984 in what I thought was a monogamous relationship. It wasn't. This I only found out about 4 years ago. My siblings knew the whole time and said nothing. He had me believe he got it from a blood transfusion in 1990. His double life was quite sordid and I'm sure there are things I will never know. My kidneys failed because of HIV. He was never a kind person and we have no relationship other than co-parenting. I've had my transplant for one year now and have applied to nursing school. As soon as I can take care of myself I am outta here. By then our daughter will be in college. I was sheltered growing up and very naive. I wasn't allowed to date and only tried sex a couple of times in my early 20s. Protection was used each time. I let this person bully me into a relationship and marriage. Growing up in an abusive, mentally unstable home, it seem perfectly normal that I shouldn't be happy. I have raised a strong daughter. She knows what her father did. I pray she will marry for love and go through her relationshiops with her eyes wide open. God Bless you all.
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Comment by: ms.believer (il) Mon., Oct. 19, 2009 at 5:47 pm EDT
I just found this site and like many others on here I am also positive. I found out earlier in this year 2009 when I did blood work for my pregnancy. I went through shock, pure torture. I have since then given birth to a beautiful baby boy who is neg. I told his father which he knew cause he took me to the dr. for the results but he has never shunned me because of this we continue to be intimate, protected of course. I really don't think that he is the one who gave it to me. but he has been my support and he loves me and our son and I want women to know that it is not the end of the world. None of us know what tomorrow brings and our sex-life just had to change I am a monogamous person and was only with one man but that goes to show you can never be to safe unless you practice abstinence. So please keep your heads up and stay protected. I have always had a fear of this disease and now I am forced to live with it but I do so with ferocity - this thing will not beat me. I take meds everyday and on time and I still engage in sexual activity. I do however feel like I am not giving my all but this I am getting use to cause I do not want to chance exposing him. Life is not over I have also gone back to college. I want to help people who are in the same position that I am in cause it is not the end of the world and we all can use someone to talk to.
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Comment by: Helen (UK) Fri., Sep. 25, 2009 at 10:27 am EDT
may god bless you dearly
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Comment by: Margaret (Nairobi Kenya ) Thu., Sep. 3, 2009 at 9:52 am EDT
you are such a strong beautiful woman ! Long live and God bless you. you are in my prayers!
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Comment by: Devon (East St. Louis, IL) Mon., Aug. 24, 2009 at 7:57 pm EDT
My prayers are with you. You are such as an encouragement and I thank God for your life and your story. Be blessed and encourage beautiful woman of God.
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Comment by: x Wed., Jun. 24, 2009 at 1:24 pm EDT
if it was a steer nobody would get anywhere near it.If it was food everyone would be very allergic to it. but it is through sex and love that one can be infected. How many people are not potential sufferers? that is my response to people who think like your mother did. long live all positive people. thanks for your story.
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Comment by: Rudo (coventry,UK) Thu., Jun. 18, 2009 at 9:41 am EDT
Well this good--there is life after being diagnosed. I was diagnosed 9 years ago when I was a nobody,but then I have achieved goals I would never thoght I would reach. As a matter of fact I am also happily married to my negative husband who is caring and blessed with beautiful kids. Guys don't give up, and be open and don't spread the virus rather educate those who don't know. Always have a relationship with your dr and the clinic staff, taking your drugs properly. It's a shame for the undeveloped countries where medication has not reached, use God as the tooler of everything asking for health mercies. I have a sister not on medication in Zimbabwe who has been pos for the past 11 yrs. Be positive, eat more organic foods, leave the burden to God, get a partner. WHO SAID YOU CAN'T? YES WITH HIV YOU CAN!
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Comment by: PAUL (NAIROBI KENYA) Sat., Jun. 6, 2009 at 6:07 am EDT
IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW YOU GOT INFECTED. WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS HOW YOU ARE COOPING WITH THE CONDITION. HIV IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE. YOU MAY NOT DIE OF IT BUT THERE ARE MILLIONS OF OTHER CAUSES OF DEATH. EG ROAD ACCIDENT. EARTH QUAKE ETC, SO WHY WORRY?
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Comment by: KEMI ALARAPE (Port Harcourt Nigeria) Thu., Jun. 4, 2009 at 8:53 am EDT
I THANK GOD FOR YOUR LIFE.YOU ARE A BUNDLE OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO THE WORLD AT LARGE.CHEERS.
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Comment by: steffanie (ft myers fl) Wed., May. 27, 2009 at 8:06 pm EDT
when i was first find out i was positive my doctor told me of this site and your story was one of the first i read. u was strong and seem to move on great. it moved me to know that there was life after being positive. i have a great family, i mean really great. after a year i'm undetected and moving on with life and i give a little of that to ur story and the wonderful works of god who i trust in dearly without his grace i don't know where i would be. the town i live in has no support group to help people and i think this is why god has kept me here to reach out to young woman just last week i went to the doctor and he ask me to speak to a young lady around my age which i'm 30 and got it though a boyfriend who i believe knew he was positive. the doctor told me when she asked if he knew anyone who she could talk to. he only thought of me cause i was happy healthy and had pulled myself from a long ways. i thank you and may god bless and keep u always
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Comment by: xolelwa (south africa , johannesburg) Wed., May. 6, 2009 at 3:23 pm EDT
IT IS BY THE GRACE OF GOD ALMIGHTY THAT HE GAVE US EVERY DAY THAT WE MUST LIVE FOR US IS TO THANK HIM BY ALL THAT WE HAVE EVERY DAY WHEN WE WAKE UP. IT IS NOT IN OUR POWER TO SURVIVE THE DREADFUL DISEASE BUT FOR HIM TO SHOW HIS LOVE TO US. PRAYER AND TOTAL DEPENDENCE TO GOD IS OUR POWER OF STRENGTH AND SURVIVAL. HE LOVED US AS EVERYBODY NO MATTER WE ARE LIVING WITH A DRAGON IN OUR BODIES. HE SHOW US THAT HE LOVE US AS WE ARE. IT IS NOT OUR SINS OR OUR FORFATHERS SINS BUT FOR ME GOD HAS SHOWN HIS LOVE TO US AND IF HE (GOD) GIVES GRAPES, WE MUST MAKE GRAPE JUICE AND REALLY DWELL ON IT BECAUSE EVERY DAY HE IS OUR STRENGTH. WE MUST JUST PUT OUR HOPE TO HIM FOR HIM HE CARES ABOUT US SO MUCH. THANKS SISTER MAY GOD PUT HIS HANDS OVER US AND SEAL US WITH THE BLOOD OF THE HOLY GHOST, AND FIGHT FOR US BECAUSE IN LIFE WE ARE IN A BATTLE BEING HIV POSITIVE OR NOT WE HAVE TO FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL. GOD BLESS YOU ALL IN HIS PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BECAUSE AGAIN WE ARE NOT ALONE. IN HIM WE ARE THE WINNERS. THANK YOU ALL.
XOLELWA .JHB.
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Comment by: sheila dextra (miami fl) Tue., Apr. 28, 2009 at 12:12 pm EDT
i am writting a story and i came across your story i just wanted to say you are a very brave woman and u are in my thoughts and prayers
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Comment by: Amanda Hannah (Milwaukee,Wisconsin) Thu., Apr. 23, 2009 at 11:54 am EDT
How old are you and are you doing more better then when you find out that you was diagnosed with HIV....I'm in high school and I'm research about HIV/AIDS but your story really caught my attention.I will be writing about your story and want I got out of it....I wish the best for you and your family because I know you been threw alot and I also want to know want would you of done if you was ever thought about HIV/AIDS in school?Do you ever go to high school to talk teenagers like me?I hope you teach people who don't know about HIV about it so they would know so they can't say no one told them because their are teens my age that parents don't care want they do so if a person who been threw it should be a help for their life and I hope you could be the one.....GOD BLESS YOU......
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Comment by: dee rhodes (williamsport pa) Thu., Apr. 23, 2009 at 12:33 am EDT
Hey Teniecka I'm also living with hiv since 2006. i found out on my birthday. My ex for 5 years and he knew he had it for 10 years and never told me. Yes, i was hurt and some days i'm still heart. but i keep going. I tried to put him in jail but my lawyer told me it will be his word against mines. I see him every day with his girlfriend and he told me he told her. He took my choice away but i'm okay i have loving friends and family.
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Comment by: Racheal (Birmingham, Al) Fri., Feb. 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm EST
Your story is very inspiring. I am 15 years old and i dont have HIV, but i do admire you for being very positive about the situation. and I am so happy that you are honest from jump about having HIV. It's very few people who want to be that honest with people and they just sit around and spread it to others. Through your story and many others i have come to know that when i do decide to have intercourse with a boy that i should use protection and be safe and never to risk my life for a little pleasure that won't even last that long.... continue to stay positive!
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Comment by: Yolanda L. (Cleveland,MS) Thu., Jan. 29, 2009 at 11:16 pm EST
Your story has touched my heart and i pray that your story reaches some one so maybe they can open up and help some one else.

MAY GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU!!
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Comment by: Chanel (Houston,Texas) Thu., Jan. 29, 2009 at 2:18 pm EST
I was expose to Hiv my test came back neg and I go for the next one next week your story touch me to be positive no matter what.
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Comment by: Rachel (Harare, zimbabwe) Wed., Jan. 14, 2009 at 8:52 am EST
I am so proud of you doll, reading your story had motivated me more. I too am hiv positive, for almost 7 years now and the Lord has given me strength to carry on with life and not give up. Just because we have it doesn't mean we will die tomorrow. Amen and all the best to you girl!! Bless You...
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Comment by: Harvett (East Cleveland, OH) Mon., Dec. 1, 2008 at 1:28 pm EST
I am glad to hear that your viral load is undetectable. I wish that you didn't have HIV. I feel that a lot of churches should talk more about the horrific disease. We need to stop playing holier than thou and use what God (Allah, Christ, whoever you consider to be your messiah) gave you. Take care.
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Comment by: hadija lema (africa-tanzania) Thu., Nov. 20, 2008 at 1:16 am EST
Thank for your disclosure. Please keep teaching the community the importance of testing and disclosure. May god bless you.
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Comment by: Elder Iris (Bronx, New York) Thu., Nov. 6, 2008 at 7:50 pm EST
Hi there Teniecka, you stand your ground and keep your faith! You are a strong young woman! Thank God for his mercy. I strongly believe that the lord will turn your situation around for good, continue to seek God for he is your healer! Read: Phil 4:13 "I can do everything through him that strengthens me." ~~~~~~~JESUS LOVES YOU!~~~~~~~~~~
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Comment by: mritznm2AOL.COM (NEW YORK CITY) Sun., Oct. 26, 2008 at 12:40 pm EDT
YOUR STORY WAS SO INSPIRING. IT TOUCHED ME TO THE CORE. I AM ALSO HIV SINCE 2005.DON'T NO HOW I GOT IT. I HAVE A BOYFRIEND OF 10 YRS, HE IS NEG. BUT BEFORE HIM I HAD A RELATOINSHIP.THIS PERSON GOT VERY SICK AND A FEW MONTHS LATER HE WAS IN THE HOSPITAL. HE TOLD ME HE HAD CANCER AND DIED FAST. I STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND. BUT I AM OK WITH MYSELF. I AM UNDETECTABLE. MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY LIVE IN BOYFRIEND IS ON THE ROCKS. DON'T NO WHAT TO DO WITH THAT. I AM HAPPY TO ALSO LEARN THAT YOU ARE HAPPY AND ARE GETTING MARRIED. BEST OF LUCK. GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS
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Comment by: July (Houston, Texas) Tue., Oct. 14, 2008 at 1:58 am EDT
Thank you for opening up and being detail about your life. You still have faith in GOD, which is admirable. Up until now I hadn't admitted it, but I think I had lost my faith. You have given me hope and courage to live a day at a time. My family doesn't know. I would like to tell them, but I don't want them to worry with my burdens, especially my sweet mother. I went to the doctor today and got back on my meds.

Thank you for sharing your life.
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Comment by: Babygirl 79 (Natchitoches, LA) Thu., Oct. 2, 2008 at 1:03 pm EDT
To read a story so close and similiar to mine is really inspiring. I too contracted the disease while in a monogamous relationship. i was 28 then and now 29. I have had the disease over a year and some months now, I too was hurt and afraid about the whole situation. All I could do was think that I was going to eventually die from this. When I told him about it he was cool. He couldn't believe that I had it and that he couldn't have given it to me. Although I had tested two months before, we became intimate and after only a few months I got tested again and it was positive. Although he tested negative the first time, I'm not sure about the last few times since we no longer talk to each other. I'm not blaming him or anyone else, but this has really changed my life. I still have not yet come to terms of having this disease and the affect on my life, but to read your story gives me a bit of hope that I too can still get married have kids with a successful career without the barriers. and I know that God has a purpose for us all. Maybe my purpose is to bring awareness to my community about the effects and stigma of getting tested, the results and living with the virus. But thanks for that ray of hope in my life. you have brought tears of joy to my eyes!
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Comment by: Sibongile (South Africa) Thu., Sep. 11, 2008 at 10:06 am EDT
Like you, the only person I could turn to was GOD and it really kept me going while I was waiting for results for my CD4 count. My faith is what has brought me this far (6 months). I am still not in a position to talk about it but have come to terms with it. I have not been able to tell my boyfriend, he stays far and we have not seen each other since I was diagonised but am taking each day as it comes. Thanks sister for sharing your story
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Comment by: lisa (nj) Sat., Sep. 6, 2008 at 12:56 pm EDT
I love your story. it is so inspirational. be blessed and keep looking up to GOD. I love to hear inspirational stories as yours. it always seems to lift my spirit up. i am a tru believer of supernatural healing from GOD. I know that there is nothing impossible for him to do. he is willing and able to do all things but fail. I love the lord so much. some christians say that I don't have enough faith to stop taking my meds. I believe that if and when GOD heals me he will do just that whether I'm taking my meds or not. he will show his self approved. I am so happy that I found this site on the internet. it really has all of the info that I need. the people are very helpful.
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Comment by: pamela magp=ona (south africa) Thu., Sep. 4, 2008 at 7:58 am EDT
Thank you very much for your inspiring story. I am HIV positive as well.
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Comment by: Lisa Mysnyk (Atlanta, GA) Fri., Aug. 22, 2008 at 12:52 am EDT
Hi Teniecka, I love and admire you. I am also HIV positive. I've been positive since 2003. Ever since I've been educating myself and others. I am a motivational speaker and a peer counselor for HIV/Aids. There is no shame in my game. My motto is 'I rather be fat and blessed than skinny and stressed'. Keep your head up girl. I love you sister. I hope one day we can meet and fellowship.
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Comment by: t Sun., Aug. 10, 2008 at 5:10 pm EDT
You are very inspiring. I am awaiting my HIV results and I am so nervous. Your story (and the others on this site) has given me hope. Thank you.

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Comment by: Matt Moovas Tue., Jul. 29, 2008 at 12:58 pm EDT
My diaryhivaids yahoo group was meant to provide an outlet for my expressing my suferings, frustrutions and perhaps hopes as I live with HIV/AIDS Kindly join the group and if possible provide some encouragements like you have done in this wonderful article.
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Comment by: Gary Smith Mon., Jul. 21, 2008 at 4:51 pm EDT
Howdy old friend, I do miss ya' !
Lots of hearts!
Gary
write me, I'm in the book, call too!
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