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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


George Burgess

George Burgess, Atlanta, Ga., diagnosed in April 1995

I think the first advice is to be still, because it's what we call Day One.

Day One could be really, really frightening ... especially sitting back on the other side of the desk and getting the diagnosis. So the first advice is just to be still, because your thoughts are going to race.

After being still, find some support. We know that sometimes family members are not receptive or don't understand HIV. When I told my mother I was positive, she had a negative response to it. But I had to realize that she wasn't educated. She had her fears. So, be still; then find some support. Get into some health care, and you can set a game plan. Then realize that it's not a death sentence; you can live with this.

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