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https://www.thebody.com/article/positive-life-interview-esmeralda-part-two
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This Positive Life: An Interview With Esmeralda, Part Two

    "When I started talking to the women at the support group, they treated me like family and supported me, and they had the same problem. It was incredible."
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    "I got a job at the end of 2008, as a peer advocate. ... I really love it, because it gives me the opportunity to help other women who've just been diagnosed."
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    "Sometimes they tell us \[peer advocates\] more than they'd tell a social worker or a doctor. They get comfortable with us, because we disclose to them. They say, 'You're one of us. You feel what I feel.' They open up to you. It's great to help a person to come out."
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    "I talk to \[my children\] more openly and clearly about looking after themselves, taking care of themselves, that HIV could happen to anybody. I think it's easier to tell them, 'Take care of yourselves and protect yourselves when your time comes.' I think it's a door open there to speak with them."
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    "I have two children and I'm having another child. I'm pregnant -- more than six months already -- so I'll be having a new baby in June. Everybody's excited."
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    "Now I'm having a baby _consciously_. It's going to be fine. I have two fine already. This can be fine and I've been looking after myself and everything. ... I'm not that worried or that scared anymore, because I know it's going to come out OK. ... I do everything I have to do to be fine."
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    "If you're undetectable, if you're fine with your medicines, just talk to your doctor and say, 'I want to get pregnant,' and get pregnant. Have a baby, and have a great life."
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    "\[My parents\] don't know that I have HIV. I don't want to tell them, because I want them to see me the way I am, healthy and not having health problems, because that's the way I _feel_. I don't want to give them something to worry about, because I'm doing fine."
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    "It took me a while to tell \[my future husband\] I was HIV positive. He started asking me if we could have a relationship. I'd say, 'No, I'm not looking for a relationship, because I'm just focused on raising my children.' He said, 'I can help you.' I said, 'No, I can do it myself.' \[Laughs.\] I didn't want to disclose to him."
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    "I feel so blessed. I think I have a perfect life. Great kids. Great partner. I don't think I can ask for anything else."
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    "I don't think about what I have. I just keep healthy and keep working. I think it's part of being OK with yourself and being happy. Trying to be positive is what it's about."
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    "If you are positive, live a positive life and live a good life. If you are negative, please take care of yourself and educate yourself and don't become positive."
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    Olivia G. Ford

    Olivia G. Ford

    o_g_ford

    Olivia Ford is a contributing editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.