Here's their advice.
"I try to use the experiences that are painful or difficult to somehow bring something good out of those situations. My personal belief is that the persons with HIV who give up or are full of self-pity and anger, those people are perhaps harming themselves and they don't even know it."
-- Jane Fowler, 72, diagnosed in 1991
To read more about Jane, click here.
"When I first tested positive, I wish someone had told me that I was going to be OK and that I didn't need to feel ashamed because of my status. I wish someone had told me that I had a long life ahead of me. After finding out my status at 25 years old, I thought I was going to die by the time I was 30 and I spent my life savings thinking I was going to die. Nobody told me I would live this long! Eighteen years later and I'm still here."
-- Trish Steen, 43, diagnosed in 1989
"HIV is not a punishment. Don't let it monopolize your life! It's very important that you learn to love yourself."
-- Regina Brandon, 43, diagnosed in 1986
To read more about Regina, click here.
"All the friends that I told, they all got emotional and started crying. But all of them, they said, 'No matter what, Raven, we will still love you and you will always be our friend.'"
-- Raven Lopez, 17, diagnosed in 1991
To read more about Raven, click here.
"Every day I wake up and realize that life is a gift. There's not a whole lot of time to be wasted. From a spiritual base, I believe the world is a good place and that the possibilities are endless."
-- Loreen Willenberg, 54, diagnosed in 1992
To read more about Loreen, click here.
"People had already done all the damage they could possibly do with their tongues and their fingers pointing. What else could they do to me? I became fearless ... I still have to go back to my faith in my God in heaven. He's the one who made me strong. He's the one who gave me the eyes to see what needed to be done."
-- Desiree Herron, 50, diagnosed in 1996
"The first time I was in a room full of HIV-positive women, I was amazed. I felt like I was home. I thought: 'You're all living, you're all thriving, you're all fighting! You're all dynamic women! You're not monsters! You're real, great, vibrant, normal women. Wow! I can do this!' I stuck to them like glue."
-- Shelley Singer, 49, diagnosed in 1997
To read more about Shelley, click here.
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