Christopher Roby, My Brother's Keeper, Inc., Ridgeland, Miss.
I would tell someone who was just diagnosed with HIV/AIDS that this is not a death sentence. With new medications out and all these new developments in HIV work, people are living with HIV longer than people are living with hypertension, diabetes, cancers.
I always tell my clients when they find out that they are positive that you can compare HIV to cancer. If you had cancer, you would have a shorter period of time to live, because cancer deteriorates your body. With HIV, you can take your meds, you can look just as normal as anybody else. There are no known symptoms of HIV that you can visibly see, so this is not really a disease that has to determine who you are or where you're going in life.
It's just like another thing that you have -- you can be born with a history of hypertension in your family. So that's how I look at it, and that's what I would tell them.