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The Big Reveal: How It Feels to Be Diagnosed with HIV

People living with HIV share the experience of their trauma upon learning they were positive.

Being diagnosed with any chronic disease can take a huge toll on a person. To be diagnosed with a virus that was once considered to be immediately life-threatening comes with its own set of trauma. The fear, anxiety, and uncertainty that a positive diagnosis for HIV induces hits at the center of a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and is often initially devastating. The stigma and misinformation that surround the disease, even to this day, only add to the stress and isolation that those living with HIV experience at the onset of their journey of accepting they have the virus.

This video highlights people sharing how and when they learned about their diagnosis, and the emotions that they struggled with as they moved toward acceptance of it. They share the shock, fear, and depression they experienced when they first learned they were positive, and how the support they did or didn’t get from the loved ones in their lives affected how they initially coped. They also offer words of wisdom, advice, and hope for anyone struggling with the realization of their own positive diagnosis and how they will disclose it to others.

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