I have been giving a lot of thought to my reluctance to disclose my HIV positive status to anyone. I have been positive since 1996 and I would guess about ten people know my status. Initially I was sick and did not even consider telling anyone who didn't have the need to know because of the stigma. I told my parents but did not tell the rest of my family because I was embarrassed and did not want my parents to have to answer questions my family wouldn't ask me. I told my brothers who were very supportive but we don't talk about it.

I was scared that people would treat me different and be like "oh poor thing, she has HIV". Of course, like everyone else, I have had painful things happen at times when I did disclose. At the time, my brother's future wife was aware I was positive and we were close. Then at their wedding, all the bridesmaids were in the limo drinking champagne out of the bottle and they would not drink after me. I couldn't believe that she told them and they were so ignorant. I was too embarrassed to say anything at the time.

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