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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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Greg Braxton

Greg Braxton, Chicago, Ill., diagnosed in 1994

If someone came to me and told me they had just found out they were HIV positive, the first thing I would say is, "Allow yourself to grieve."

You're going to feel grief. You're going to go through a process, and I'm just saying that it is a process.

You'll go on the dark side of the moon, but you will resurface. The main thing is to get linked with support -- you need emotional support. If it's drugs that you've been abusing, actually, you need help in that area. And you need medical support. You need to stay on top of this. But I would say, just allow yourself to grieve, and then, when you get through grieving, realize that HIV/AIDS is no longer a terminal illness. You're not going to necessarily die -- if you take care of yourself. You can live a -- whatever a normal life is, I don't think it's a really normal life, but you can have some semblance of that.

It's going to take a lot of work, and a lot of effort. It's definitely going to change you. ... There are lots of ways it can actually change you for the better. I know it's hard to believe, but that's the way it was for me.

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