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How to Live With Being HIV Positive

My name is Jessie I. Snyder, I'm 38 years old. I have been HIV positive for 24 years and have been AIDS for 17 years. I contracted HIV in 1987 through blood transfusions, when it was not known about the disease. I was 14 and my doctor told me that I might not be able to see my 18th birthday. But here I am alive and well than I have ever been.

I will share with you five easy steps to tackle HIV positive.

First, remember that being HIV positive does not prevent you from being yourself. You were the same person before you were tested positive for HIV.

Second, get involved in support groups. Associating with other HIV-positive people can help you overcome your diagnosis. They can also help you learn how to disclose HIV status to family and friends.

Third, get treatment. Finding the right combination of medicine can help you lead a productive and healthy life. Get involved in your medical care, ask questions, find out what your CD4 count is and what it means and know your viral load and what it means.

Fourth, accept that you are HIV positive. Acceptance is the key to living a long and healthy life with HIV. When you are rejected, you tend not to take care of yourself and even if you accept that you are HIV positive. Keep a positive attitude and talk about your illness publicly. Trust me, you will find that this will make you feel better about yourself and overcome your diagnosis.

Lastly, take care of yourself. This means eating properly, exercising, taking your medication as prescribed, and taking precautions when you are around someone who is sick, because what makes a healthy person feel bad can eventually kill you. Remember to maintain a positive attitude. You will find that if you follow these five simple steps, you can live a long, healthy and happy life with HIV.

I've been a supporter of AIDS for 13 years. I worked as the first speaker for Nashville CARES, and appeared in two talk shows about HIV and AIDS. I just want to spread the word that AIDS should not be a death sentence, that there is life after the AIDS diagnosis. I also tell my story to put a face to this deadly disease.



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