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First-Person Stories From HIV-Positive People

Leanna: Born With HIV
Leanna, also known as Allison, was born with HIV. She's 15 years old and already does public speaking about HIV. She lives with her HIV-positive mom and HIV-negative sister. To contact her, click here.
The Positive Project

Since its founding in 2000, The Positive Project has collected more than 100 first-person stories told by people infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. These stories are used to reduce stigma, raise awareness, promote prevention, encourage testing and enhance care.

To learn more about The Positive Project, click here or visit the official Web site to watch more videos. You can also listen to or read our interview with Dr. Tony Miles, co-founder of The Positive Project.



Leanna: Born With HIV
Leanna, also known as Allison, was born with HIV. She's 15 years old and already does public speaking about HIV. She lives with her HIV-positive mom and HIV-negative sister. To contact her, click here.

Jessica: Mother and Activist
Jessica has been positive for 11 years. In this interview, she recounts what happened when she first was diagnosed and how she fled into drugs and alcohol. She is now an HIV activist in Mississippi and regularly talks about her life with HIV. To contact Jessica, click here.

Kyle: Using Meditation and Prayer to Stay Focused
What's it like to be an American Indian with HIV? In this moving interview Kyle recounts his journey and the many difficulties he's had adjusting to his new status. To connect with Kyle, click here.

  
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This article was provided by The Positive Project.
 
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The Positive Project


Reader Comments:

Comment by: namgay (Thimphu, BHutan) Thu., Aug. 12, 2010 at 1:41 am EDT
I am a HIV positive person since from the begining of the 1994 and my wife got infected only after 6 years and give birth 03 child after she infected but all my child are negative, I did not take any precaution and any medication. How the HVI has not infected to my child .Please let me know
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Comment by: Rabecca (Lansing, Michigan) Sun., May. 9, 2010 at 10:12 pm EDT
My name is Rabecca, and there is a very high chance that I am HIV Positive, I don't know what I will do if I do have it, I don't want to be a burdon on my family...
You are all so brave.
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Comment by: alam (Dhaka , Bangladesh) Sun., Nov. 29, 2009 at 11:47 pm EST
I am also living with HIV virus,So I feel your pain. if you are interested to know Bangladesh situation, please knock me please. alam@unaidsbd.org
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Comment by: Alisha B. (Durham,NC) Mon., Nov. 9, 2009 at 11:05 am EST
i have become more informed after reading all the info. i would like to thank all the people who have put in there time and effort into biulding this site it has helped inform more students like me about the dangers and risks of not haveing safe sex. as i said befor thank you and i will let all my friends know about what i have learned so that they may learn about the dangers. i will make sure in the future to have safe sex.
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Comment by: caitlin (North Carolina) Mon., Nov. 9, 2009 at 11:03 am EST
i have finally realized what people are talking about when they say they have HIV. All the people that write information and produce videos are the best.You informed me and other people to be very protected when haveing sex. And know that this could enventally kill us if we have it ....i thank you all
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Comment by: joniqua n (north corlina) Fri., Nov. 6, 2009 at 11:10 am EST
hmm all i wanted to say was you did a great job on the video and thats me i need to have protected sex when i get older and be very watch very on what im doing
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Comment by: Sincere (Raleigh NC) Thu., Oct. 22, 2009 at 3:19 pm EDT
Watching these videos has helped to realize one thing that i beleive is the most important of them all.....STRAP UP And no matter how bad you want to do whatever if your in a relationship get tested together before you sleep together and still strap up after recieveing double negative results!
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Comment by: oswaldo (caracas, venezuela) Wed., Oct. 21, 2009 at 1:24 am EDT
Leanna, you are such a valuable human being... I feel that somehow I have been wrong in this life... to be honest with you, I think that you are more truthful than millions of people that pretend to be... you are a wonderful woman and hope that you will keep on being the same for ever...many people will look for you to get some courage and hope...enjoy life and be healthy Allison!!
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Comment by: lori (caribbean) Tue., Oct. 20, 2009 at 8:07 am EDT
Your story has given me hope that HIV is not a death sentence.. I'm praying for a cure.
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Comment by: Tionenji (New york, NY) Thu., Oct. 15, 2009 at 4:05 pm EDT
I lost two younger sisters to AIDS. One died in 1997 and the other died two years later. It was devastating for our family to watch our two girls fade before our eyes knowing there was nothing that we or anyone could do to help them. We did not encounter any discrimination from people although it could be that we were too wrapped up with what we were handling to care what anybody thought or did. I do pray and hope a cure would be found soon. In the meantime I ask the Lord to give strength to all who are living with HIV/AID and all who are affected in any way by this disease.
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Comment by: Angel (Chicago, Illinois) Sat., Oct. 10, 2009 at 3:06 pm EDT
Your video has really helped me through a low point in dealing with my disease. Keep up the good work!
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Comment by: christian (ft lauderale) Thu., Oct. 8, 2009 at 10:32 pm EDT
13 years positive high t cells no load stay close to jesus he love you he will help you i want to encorage all
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Comment by: Derric (Morgantown, WV) Wed., Sep. 30, 2009 at 9:19 am EDT
The guy I've started seeing is on Atripla. I do am not on medication yet. However, I'm thinking of starting Atripla when my Dr. advises (or sooner.) If I top him bare back could I become resistant to Atripla? I just don't know how that works. I had a resistance test performed when I became positive and I am not to any of the meds. Could having sex with someone that is currently on a medication cause this? I'm just confused as to how that works and don't want to jeopArdize my health. Thanks!
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Comment by: sakapo (fiji) Mon., Sep. 28, 2009 at 7:44 pm EDT
thanks for speaking out
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Comment by: yongama (South Africa) Sat., Sep. 19, 2009 at 4:31 am EDT
wow!! what a brave girl. keep it up.
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Comment by: leoul zewelde (addis ababa, ETHIOPIA) Wed., Sep. 2, 2009 at 5:03 am EDT
you make me confident i am not hiv positive, but you are so great in doing such an act, so GOD bless you.
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Comment by: sisay haile (ethiopia) Sat., Aug. 22, 2009 at 9:29 am EDT
you make me confident i am not hiv positive, but you are so great in doing such an act, so GOD bless you
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Comment by: Mpiyakhe Nhlapo (SOUTH AFRICA) Fri., Aug. 14, 2009 at 3:59 pm EDT
My name is mpiyakhe i am 34 yrs old i am hiv +. I live with disease 4 more than 6 yrs bt my problem is i never told anyone about my status, so can i tell someone?
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Comment by: Mathero chip (Malawi) Tue., Aug. 11, 2009 at 4:44 am EDT
I blame those who give the virus to their friends Bkoz they know that they have the virus but they still have sex with enocent pple. God wil punish them truly.
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Comment by: friend (US) Wed., Jul. 29, 2009 at 10:11 pm EDT
10 Years back I thought I might have got infected but due to GOD's grace results were negative. I pray to GOD that a vaccine comes out soon. It is unfair that people with HIV are stigmatised but equally deadly diseases like cancer is viewed in more respectful manner.
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Comment by: Tai (nagoya Japan) Tue., Jul. 28, 2009 at 2:36 am EDT
I was very impressed How everybody is living
positive. I hope that enveloment of Japan turns

out to be just like this, Japan is still so much
of discramination and too much of sress. people
can be very nasty. I figure We really must work on it.
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Comment by: wishing you long life... Sun., Jul. 26, 2009 at 2:05 pm EDT
I think we take it for granted when we are "humans" that we are human, i.e, when are negative. But I suspect those who suffer from HIV/AIDS must understand humanity better than us who are negative. I have no words to admire their courage to "live," which we the negative take it for granted. Hosting this disease, which is never going to go away, takes more than courage, more than being human. It is in these positive people that we may learn about humanity itself. I wish them long life....
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Comment by: HisWife (US) Sun., Jul. 12, 2009 at 1:07 pm EDT
I dont know how to respond. I commend those of you who speak out. My husband has a had a positive test and i am still by his side.In my heart I knew that he was cheating, but thought eventually it would come out. Never in my life, did i imagine that HIV would be how the truth would come out.I love my husband.I hate the person that gave this to him, which by the way..he claims to have no clue of who it was. I hate the fact that he didnt love me enough not only to be faithful, but not even enough to protect me from all the possibilities of him having unprotected sex.My biggest fear is having to tell our kids.I want him to know that i love him, but its so hard.The one person, that I should be able to express my love for, has made me fear showing it.I know what my options are , but dont know what to do.He wants me to have another child, now that he is showing up negative. I will pray for you and ask that you do the same.
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Comment by: Vasiliy (UK) Sun., Jun. 28, 2009 at 6:53 pm EDT
Learned a lot from these people. Thanks for telling your story. I would like to see more people and their stories on here. Information and solidarity will defeat the stigma, fear and eventually the virus itself. Looking forward to the conference in South Africa in July. Together we are stronger.
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Comment by: joe (tucson,az. ) Wed., Jun. 3, 2009 at 4:06 pm EDT
I feel very proud that the positive feeling that you all achieve when facing the most serious difficult scenario that we do not want to confront, and grateful that society is now taking it seriously of whom it will affect by the ripple - ing to the innocents and defense -less.
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Comment by: sue (Australia) Sun., May. 31, 2009 at 9:44 pm EDT
Hi guys~ Your journey of life is very touching to watch and listen. Plz keep strong and I pray to GOD, the vaccine for HIV/AIDS will soon become available for the innocent youth and all other people as well!
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Comment by: Fabio Kassatly (Dubai) Sun., May. 31, 2009 at 2:32 pm EDT
I just had the chance to listen to Kyle and Leanna. I congratulate both of you on your attitudes. I think your wonderful lifestyle and the zeal to mover forward is amazing. I am sure both of you had a lot more to share with us who are HIV negative. We have to learn so much from you in terms of staying focused and positive. I wish one day I can fly you here to Dubai or Middle East in general to do some speeches on staying positive with HIV positive. I pray you will remain healthy and happy until the day you die naturally from old age. God bless you all.
Fabio Kassatly, House of Chocolate, Dubai, truffles@eim.ae
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Comment by: shelly (trinidad) Wed., May. 27, 2009 at 7:07 pm EDT
my prayers are with you all and i hope many will not just hear but listen and please keep doing a good job educating the younger folks we need to pull together as one nothing should divide people
fighting for a better tomorrow
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Comment by: goodman (ireland in europe) Tue., May. 26, 2009 at 7:33 pm EDT
no human being deserve hiv. its shameful and inhumane that a positive man got 25yrs sentence for failing to disclose. my question to that judge is''how many years will u give somebody who infect his or her sexual partner with another type of STD?'' hiv is STD but the only difference is that it hasn't got a cure yet. i wanna stress that the actions of this type bigoted judge is promoting stigma against people living with hiv. if it's crime to have hiv, the world will set up a standard for dealing with this particular crime. the question of those who doesn't know their hiv status and could pass it on if they're positive must be addresed. my heart goes out to all people inflicted with this incurable disease. u're all grat people that deserves respect.
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Comment by: Richard (Toronto Canada) Fri., May. 22, 2009 at 11:39 am EDT
It's fantastic that you are so positive about living with the virus. You help spread cheer and love to everyone with your video post. They say within 4-5 years that there will be a cure, and I hope it's true. No one deserves HIV.
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Comment by: cliff (london) Wed., May. 20, 2009 at 11:50 pm EDT
my prayers goes out for each one u. may god keep and guide you all along ure journey. much love
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Comment by: tyler reich Mon., May. 11, 2009 at 1:36 pm EDT
it is great cause it informs very well
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Comment by: D.T (oklahoma) Mon., May. 11, 2009 at 10:18 am EDT
i have never met anyone with aids/hiv but i really feel for u guys who do have it cus im negative. but i started having sex at 11 and now im 12 and im scared to have sex again cus i dnt wnt 2 have hiv!!!i relly dnt kno wut 2 do
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Comment by: jana (london) Mon., May. 11, 2009 at 9:04 am EDT
good luck
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Comment by: ven (Ahbad,India) Wed., May. 6, 2009 at 11:42 am EDT
Praying in god for a vaccine to save lives
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Comment by: judy (kenya) Tue., May. 5, 2009 at 8:01 am EDT
We have come along way.It is encouraging to see how people are giving HIV a human face.Lets all go out and get tested.I also congratulate the researchers for the great effort they are making to get a cure.
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Comment by: DDIA (NIGERIA) Fri., May. 1, 2009 at 2:23 pm EDT
YOU ALL HELP ME LIVE AND SEE THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL.
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Comment by: bryt (botswana) Wed., Apr. 29, 2009 at 4:40 pm EDT
thanks for speaking out..
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Comment by: kiki (NY.<NY) Mon., Apr. 13, 2009 at 11:32 pm EDT
I am proud of all these people who bravely, openly share their stories. Kyle said it best when he said "we all have lived our own journies and we do not know others pain we can only know ours." Our community is very quick to judge, label, and discriminate against what they fear and that is being HIV poz themselves. They use terms like clean, No stds, bug free. As if having HIV is dirty and something you are above. I have been in far too many conversations where ignorance and discrimination was unbearable. But because I have not yet come to terms with my own status, I stay silent. It leaves me ashamed and disgusted, but I will survive. My prayers are with all of you, as I know you make a difference.
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Comment by: gld (alaska) Fri., Apr. 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm EDT
Wow! It's so good to hear from people who have HIV and are brave enough to go public. HIV has become invisible. It sounds like these people are public and do not have too many negative repercussions! That gives hope to the majority of people with HIV who are frightened out of their wits that if anyone knew their status they would be treated badly.


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Comment by: Chico (Virginia) Fri., Apr. 10, 2009 at 1:17 pm EDT
I strongly agree with Matthew's comments. I am sooo happy and relieved that this new addition to the Body exists. Leanna's personal testament needs to heard by ALL teens whether they are + like us or -. The fact that she, like the ones that face this thing we have, stares it in the face is awesome. She is a trooper and will make it. She refuses to lay down and die. She refuses to take no action. She refuses to quit.
Even though I feel I am living with HIV the best I can, I too need to hear and see these people of courage. We are ALL family. We ALL are fighters. We ALL should dare to fail and be afraid but not live in fear. Good job Leanna.
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Comment by: Matthew (Kilgore, TX) Thu., Apr. 9, 2009 at 3:18 pm EDT
I hope this generation of HIV+ children who were born with the illness understand the power of their voice. They have the ability to remove much of the stigma that is still so strongly associated with HIV. At age 15, Leanna is wise beyond her years due to her life experience. It is my hope that more well spoken teens will speak out just as she is doing.

The truth is that without someone they can relate to doing the talking, many young people don't truly grasp or even want to hear the facts about HIV. They are much more willing to actually listen when the information is coming at them from someone more like themselves. Teens learning from HIV+ teens may be our best asset in prevention and perhaps even the most practical approach in actively reducing stigma.
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Comment by: kennedy (kenya) Thu., Apr. 9, 2009 at 7:09 am EDT
Living positively is the best a positive person can give one's self. Cheer up, it is like any other ailment nowdays.
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Comment by: adaaku (texas) Wed., Apr. 8, 2009 at 10:47 pm EDT
I have been positive for 5 yrs. My daughter was born positive, she is 5 now. Initially it was overwhelming but as time went by I got to realize that life is what you make it. Take your meds, eat right and live right , these are the combination for staying above the status. The good thing about being positive is not being nrgative to life and your positivity. Stay positive folks. My heart goes out to all those still trying to get a grip of the whole HIV stuff. But I sure know you all will get there. Love you all.
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Comment by: lj (mass) Wed., Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:23 pm EDT
HIV and DATING. Relationships are hard for people with HIV. i work with HIV poz people who are depressed and isolate themselves and yearn for a connection, love and a friend. What i have learned that has helped them is that there are HIV dating websites exclusively for people with HIV. If you work with people or are a person who is poz. spread the knowledge and search HIV DATING. it has given my clients hope. most people don't know about these sites but it helps contain the spread of the virus and helps those who have it. Love and compassion i'm outie
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Comment by: Daryl Hoffmann (Pendlton OR,) Mon., Apr. 6, 2009 at 10:40 am EDT
I'm H.I.V./Positive. This March will be 11 years for me. I'm on the same medications I started out on and am still undetectable and in good health. I still get angry about all of this at times, because I never had sex with anyone until I was 22 years old, I'm a Bottom Gay,and the first person I had sex with was the same boyfriend for 13 years and no one else. We were having problems and I was in prison over drugs and I meet a guy and it was love for the first time and I did think about H.I.V., but in prison you are tested I felt safe about having sex with him. My lover said yes to it and me and him had sex twice,and he end up leaving from where I was at, so I thought I would get tested to be safe, and the test came back Positive for H.I.V., And when I told my lover about it, he left me High and dry. That was our 14th year together and my second person I had sex with. Now I'm 47 years old and single and fear life will pass me by. I have real dark time looking for the right man,and I'm a real nice looking man,but in 13 years I'll be 60 years old. I have alot of fears, I don't drink or do drugs and that puts you by yourself. I fear I'll die a single gay H.I.V./Positive old man. Am I to old to take any more chance and has life real passed me by.
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Comment by: Meghan (Minneapolis, MN) Sun., Apr. 5, 2009 at 1:00 am EDT
Thank you for sharing your stories. I was amazed at the strength and optimism these people have shown. I wish you all peace and happiness in your life.
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Comment by: DaeDae (E.St.Louis) Tue., Mar. 31, 2009 at 4:15 pm EDT
I'm not sure if I'm + or- but reading this has taking some of
the preassure away
to go find out.
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Comment by: john (Tanzania) Tue., Mar. 31, 2009 at 4:27 am EDT
Africa society has to change mind and possess positive mind to people affected by HIV AIDS. Let's regard HIV as disease like other diseases. Africa keep stigma aside from our life. Wake up Africa!
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Comment by: Talia C (Detroit, MI) Fri., Mar. 20, 2009 at 12:08 pm EDT
Thanks for being brave enough to share all of your stories on this website. I as a social worker in a School based health clinic within a high school-SBCHP ( School Based Communty Health Program) am working with a student who's mother is HIV+, Prior to this I was somewhat ignorant to the medical regimene of a HIV+ person as well as to all that this status entails. To be HIV+ is not the end of the world and is sometimes the begining of a whole new world of education, activism etc. I support you guys!!!!!!!!
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Comment by: patricia (Regina, Saskatchewan) Wed., Mar. 18, 2009 at 9:18 pm EDT
your stories are great to hear. I currently work at a AIDS organization and it has opened a door that is full of needful knowledge and your words help me to understand more of these infections that people do not speak of due to S.I.D. (stigma,ignorance,discrimination) Thank you, MEEGWETCH.
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Comment by: AISHA MANSOORY (KENYA, NAIROBI) Fri., Mar. 13, 2009 at 9:52 am EDT
girl, u are brave.
its not the end of the world and life has to continue. may God be with u.
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Comment by: Lula (London, uk) Fri., Mar. 13, 2009 at 7:13 am EDT
My brother has been HIV positive for 3 yrs now and I still remember the look on his face when he came out of the clinic consultation room. I was very fearful and didn't know what was going to happen to him next. Since that time he has remained healthy and has accepted his status. I however struggle daily with knowing that he is positive. I just don't want him to get sick. I thank you all for your stories. They have helped me see and understand what goes on in the mind of a HIV person. I thank you all for this great insight into your lives. Keep up the good work.
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Comment by: jonell pearson (norfolk v.a) Thu., Mar. 12, 2009 at 11:46 am EDT
My name is jonell and i just got finish reading ur story. I can image what u been through cause its like people treat people treat else so wrong instead of supporting us. well i just found out 7 mos ago am a single mom am 25 cool dwn 2 earth someone infected me and did not tell me. It's hard but i thank god every day 4 keeping me strong and healthy and my viral load undetectable without meds thank god just pray u can write me or call me i would love 2 b ur friend. i still got a life and am healthy .
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Comment by: Yuri (Spain) Fri., Mar. 6, 2009 at 5:10 pm EST
What a brave young lady!
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Comment by: Mohammed Lamarana Barry (The Gambia ) Fri., Mar. 6, 2009 at 3:33 pm EST
Hi, everybody thank you for your good work towards ending both self stigmatization and public stigma and discrimination attached to PLHIVs .
I am 17 yrs old, I also live with HIV for ten years and positively happy with it despite it being deadly and frustrating. KEEP IT THERE Thanks all!
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Comment by: Mark Zoldy (Winnipeg) Fri., Mar. 6, 2009 at 11:14 am EST
I have just finished watching Kyle's video (see above) and I am very disturbed by it's content. Although I reach out to you and support you in your struggle with this infection, to hear you say that you expected the infection as part of your life is highly disturbing to me. I am a gay male, age 46, HIV-, married for 5 years (Canada) and in a monogamous relationship for 23 years. NEVER (in spite of the overwhelming negative stereotypes presented to me as I grew) did I assume that I'd eventually catch HIV and then succumb to AIDS. Kyle, what evil forces attacked upon such a wonderful, worthwhile person as yourself that you'd develop such expectations for yourself? I can guess at to these forces, but for anyone else reading this, these forces must be stopped and the message of how this HIV virus is transmitted must be given to ALL. As well, the degenerates who diminish the value of young gay people and/or young American Aboriginal people MUST STOP. Kyle, the Creator never wanted to see you in this position, but now that you are, my heart goes out to you and I pray that supports are in place such that your journey may be long, joyful, and that you may have peace. Blessings.
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Comment by: victor (Nigeria) Wed., Mar. 4, 2009 at 4:12 am EST
I commend your courage.
You also help ease the fear in me!
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Comment by: André (México City) Tue., Mar. 3, 2009 at 9:24 pm EST
This is an amazing site. Today I did the OraQuick test and it came out negative. I am kinda promiscuous but always go for condom use. Always safe-sex. This was my third HIV test ever, and it was hard since I had a recent condom breakage episode.
I with everyone of you, and I feel moved by the potential and power of this site. It's overwhelming.
Best!
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Comment by: Bunty (India) Tue., Mar. 3, 2009 at 4:12 am EST
I am also HIV Positive since last 3 years. I am also one among you.
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Comment by: Billy (New Mexico) Mon., Mar. 2, 2009 at 10:17 pm EST
I share a close connection with you all. Hope all is well. Thanks for speaking out and trying to end the stigma attached to being HIV+.
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Comment by: ronald casey (lexington ky ) Sat., Feb. 28, 2009 at 10:01 pm EST
Where are the white hiv+ females out there in her 30-40s in my area?
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Comment by: berty (london) Sat., Feb. 28, 2009 at 11:00 am EST
i very deeply feel for you
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