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https://www.thebody.com/article/first-person-loreen-willenberg
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First Person: Loreen Willenberg

    "The nurse ... looked at me and said, 'You know, this means a death sentence. I would recommend you collect and complete the unfinished business in your life.' I told her, 'That's your personal opinion. It's not necessarily the one that I have to subscribe to.'"
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    "I realized that I didn't want to hurt the person \[who had given me HIV\]. I had a very strong sense of compassion because he was obviously ill. ... I had a sense of peace with it."
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    "I have the benefit of a supportive and loving family. I know that there are so many women -- there are so many people who do not. So immediately I was embraced with love. I've been very blessed by that."
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    "You know, with the assistance of my physician, to be truthful, it probably took about six months for me to get used to having HIV."
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    "I don't have to participate in HIV trials, but you know what? It's necessary. It's a personal purpose. If there's any way I can help -- if there's any way I can help -- I'm all about that."
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    "After I disclosed ... people felt I was accessible. I had bank tellers asking me, 'Do condoms work? When should I tell my boyfriend that I want us to get tested?'"
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    "Every day I wake up and realize that life is a gift. There's not a whole lot of time to be wasted. ... From a spiritual base I believe the world is a good place and that the possiblities are endless."
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    "I come from a very strong family. I've been independent. I try not to live in fear. I just believe in the good in people. You know what? It sounds strange to say it, but having HIV has made me feel more alive than I was before."
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    Loreen Willenberg
    Loreen playing the board game Mousetrap at her best friend's house outside Los Angeles. The photo was taken in 1968, when Loreen was 14 years old. Forty years later, her then-best friend became her partner. They live together in southern California.
    Loreen in Minneapolis in 1974, at the age of 20. That year, she helped create and run the city's first community-supported FM radio station.
    Loreen in 1992, at the age of 38. She was celebrating Mother's Day in Lake Tahoe, Calif., with her mom and stepfather. Loreen says she was seroconverting at the time.
    On World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, 2006, in front of a display on women and HIV at the Placerville, Calif. Public Health Department. Loreen and a colleague created the display to offer much-needed HIV education to both Spanish- and English-speaking women in the a
    Loreen with Dr. Bruce Walker at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Canada, August 2006. Loreen is participating in Dr. Walker's study on 'elite HIV controllers.'
    Loreen poses in the Hosta Gardens at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, June 2006.