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https://www.thebody.com/article/this-positive-life-cassandra-whitty
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A Grandmother Talks About Testing HIV Positive After a Misdiagnosis

An Interview With Cassandra Whitty -- Part of the Series _This Positive Life_

    This Positive Life
    "I've been tested from the booty to the tooty -- from head to toe. Surely if I was HIV positive, I would know."
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    "Even in the emergency room, I guess they didn't test me for HIV because I did not fit the image."
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    "Prior to being diagnosed, I was just like, 'Lord, I'm tired of being sick.' And then when I was finally, properly diagnosed, things started getting better."
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    "One of the things that my doctor told me is that I needed support and that only I can decide how I was going to handle that support system."
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    "In that era after Magic Johnson, they were talking about protected sex, unprotected sex. But the era I come from, condoms were not really part of the equation."
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    "You know, people are always talking about, 'Magic has money. You know, he doesn't have HIV.' But they know _Cassandra_. I'm someone you know, someone you grew up with, someone you work with."
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    "I would advocate to people, to women, ask for an HIV test. If you have never been tested, get tested."
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    "My life is an open book now. That's the way I look at it. It's like I don't have any secrets."
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    "I always tell people, 'I know my status; do you know yours?' God left me on this Earth for a reason. And I believe that reason is to tell people."
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    "I don't see a difference in having cancer and having HIV, other than the fact that society accepts cancer, but they frown on HIV. And we're both trying to only do what? Survive."
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    "Find someone that can support you that is going through or has gone through what you're going through. Don't do this alone, because it's a lonely, lonely road."
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    Kellee Terrell

    Kellee Terrell

    @kelleent

    Kellee Terrell is the former news editor of TheBody. Her articles and interviews have appeared in Teen Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Al Jazeera, Essence, The Root, The Advocate, and HelloBeautiful.