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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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Precious Jackson

Precious Jackson, Los Angeles, Calif., diagnosed in May 1998

The advice that I would give a person who just found out is to not get stuck in the depression ...

... and don't get stuck in your work because that will allow you not to deal with the situation -- it keeps the focus off it.

I would recommend they take a little time off to regroup, find out the services they need and can access. There is help out there, whether you're newly diagnosed or living with HIV for a while.

There is treatment available if a person needs to be on medication; there are support groups; there are mental health services. Once you have all the services that you can access, then you can slowly move your way back into your normal routine. I wish I could have gone straight to Women Alive as soon as I was diagnosed. But I was always working.

I think what works best is when a person understands the importance of health care and of their HIV treatment regimen, how the treatment works in the body and how it suppresses the virus so that the immune system can be boosted.

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