Joyce McDonald, Brooklyn, N.Y., diagnosed in 1995
There is hope. There are many support groups and there is help available.
Don't panic! Pray and get information. Some people turn to drugs, others hurt themselves. But I say, "Hold on, you're not alone. There are more people than you think out there with HIV." Get some spiritual support, from God and from your family.
In the early '90s, many people in my Brooklyn housing project believed that if you found out you're HIV positive, you've gotta hide. I know a lot of stories where people were feeding their HIV-positive family members from outside their bedroom doors or saying, "You can't live here." Fortunately many of those attitudes have changed over the last decade, because ministries have been taking the stigma out of AIDS.
I've been coordinating my church's ministry for the last three years now. I felt it was my responsibility to give something back, to help others who weren't lucky enough to get the kind of family support I had when I was diagnosed.
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