How My Life Changed After My HIV Diagnosis


Naimah O’Neal 

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Naimah O’Neal has lived with HIV for 23 years and now counsels others as a licensed social worker for the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland.

When I first tested positive for HIV, I panicked. I planned my own funeral and obsessed about who would take care of my daughters after I died. I was sure my time was limited, so I took my daughters to Disney World and spoiled them at every opportunity I got. Three years later, when I hadn’t gotten sick—not even a cold—I realized I better stop running and deal with it.

That was 1992, and since then, I’ve learned how to cope with my HIV and learned a lot about myself in the process. When I stopped fearing what others would think about my disease, I found my voice. And for me, a female who grew up in a strict Muslim community, that was empowering.

HIV treatment is very different than it was in the past. Now, with the right treatment, people who are HIV-positive live long, healthy lives. HIV experts share their tips for treating your HIV.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Apr 13, 2016

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