Jahlove Serrano, New York City, N.Y., diagnosed in 2005
That's a funny topic within itself. It's on a need-to-know basis. You can't just disclose right then and there. You have to feel people out. That's what I do. I feel people out. I get to a point where I'll be like, "You know what? It's time to disclose" -- as far as for my sake. Not for them, but for me, so I can know how to handle all situations, because I like to be prepared.
One of the best responses that I got when I disclosed was that "You're not alone." And to hear that coming from somebody that didn't know me was definitely empowering -- because I didn't know what that meant. It meant in so many ways: You're not alone in fighting this; you're not alone in that people care about you; and you're not alone, period -- God is on your side.
That response happened to me when I disclosed to one of my friends. They were positive as well. I felt like I didn't know who to turn to. Something in my spirits told me, "You need to talk to this person." And once I disclosed, we both found out that we pretty much became positive around the same time. And it just feels great to have somebody on your side that you know personally, that they didn't know that you were in it with the same issues -- which brought our friendship much closer.