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Word on the Street

From Me to You: Tips on Dealing With an HIV/AIDS Diagnosis

HIV-Positive People Share Their Experiences and Offer Advice

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Damaries Cruz

Damaries Cruz, Deerfield Beach, Fla., diagnosed in November 1991

I went to a women's group. The first thing this lady said was, "I've been diagnosed for a year, and I don't think I'm ever going to date again and I'm never going to have sex."

I remember I looked at her and I said, "No, you'll be OK. You watch, in another year you'll be fine." The next year she met someone and they're already living together. I said, "You see!" The person was HIV negative.

There's hope! You're not HIV. You are you. You have a soul just like everyone else. When I was diagnosed as HIV positive, a person that was positive came into the room and I didn't care what she was saying because it was not her, it was me. But I realized that there's hope. There's life after HIV. Your life doesn't stop. For me, my life began. I stopped smoking, I stopped drinking, I changed my life around.

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