Joe Ohmer, Bronx, N.Y.; Diagnosed in 2002
There's a whole bunch of ways you can react once you've been diagnosed. Some people think, "I have nothing to live for." And they go crazy. They do everything they've always wanted to do, be it smart or not smart. So I would try to get them to realize that it's not a death sentence. It is certainly much more of a living condition. I would also try to show them the wisdom of becoming a student of HIV because certainly, in this case, knowledge is power.
HIV affects everyone differently. And as much information as you can absorb about the disease and its intricacies, the more powerful you are in dealing with whatever pops up in your life, so that you're not afraid of it -- if all of a sudden something happens, you're not, like, "Oh my god. I am going to die."
Also, get yourself to an HIV clinic. You may trust your family doctor, and he may treat other HIV patients, but HIV clinics deal with thousands of people with HIV. If your family doctor deals with 50, I would think that's a lot.