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My name is Kristi, I am 50 years old and I live in Minnesota. I have one young son who is the light of my life. I hold a Master's degree in the mental health field and work two jobs. I have been HIV positive for 12 years. Breathe. I learned of my HIV status on October 6, 2008, just a few weeks after I learned that I was finally pregnant with my beloved child. Breathe. I will never forget that day. It was a Tuesday. My doctor called me and asked if I could come to her office that day. I realized immediately it would not be a good visit. I begged her to tell me over the phone what was wrong with me which she did as long as I promised to still come to her office that day so she could support me with this devastating news. Breathe. It was an exceedingly difficult process to move forward through this and to become a new mom. I feel as though the universe has granted me with light and dark at the same time. Life and death. Breathe. The joy and light of a child and the darkness of a chronic illness for which there is no cure. An illness that is grossly stigmatized and isolates those inflicted with it. I often wonder what is worse, the physical aspects of HIV, or the mental anguish that it brings. Breathe. I am now ready to reach out to give and receive support to and from other women who are going through this similar battle.

Why Kristi wants to be part of A Girl Like Me: I want to share my joy and my pain so that I may feel supported and hopefully provide a light to others. I am profoundly aware of how alone I am in my current support community. I have a wonderful family, supportive friends who are aware of my status, and a great medical provider. What I do not have are other women who are HIV positive with whom I can connect. I am writing this blog as a radical means of self-care. I cannot live alone in this battle.