Teniecka Drake, Colorado Springs, Colo., diagnosed in May 2001
I would tell them that, yes, there is life after being HIV positive.
Yes, you will feel very terrible and bad once you have had that diagnosis, but you've got to continue to have a positive, optimistic attitude towards the rest of life, because life doesn't stop after your diagnosis. As life goes on you have to keep that attitude of optimism and not just look at the bad things related to HIV. While HIV does have its side effects and bad things that go along with it, there are positive things about being HIV positive.
What are they?
For me, personally, it's being able to share my story among youth and my peers. I'd like them to know what I had to go through. I share my experience and my story. I wouldn't want a single person to have to walk in my shoes, not even for a single day. So the positive thing I take away is getting to share my story, getting to be out there to help people understand and know about it. Still, people do not understand, and there are still stigmas and stereotypes out there associated with being HIV positive.
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