Hey guys! I’m Jack Mackenroth and this is my video to anyone who was or is nearly diagnosed with HIV. Just a little bit of advice since I’m a veteran. I’ve been living with HIV for 24 years; diagnosed in 1989. Back then, I was just really concerned about survival. I thought I would be dead within a few years and it was a much different climate for HIV and AIDS than it is now. And that’s encouraging. First of all, what I want to say to you is you’re no different than you were before your diagnosis. You just found out something new about yourself but hopefully that doesn’t carry a lot of weight. I know it can be very shocking, but you’re still the same person. You’re still loveable, you’re still worthy, there are still people that want you. There’s a whole community out there of support for you.

So, HIV is one of the few diseases that carries a stigma with it. Mental illness is another one, drug addiction is another one. That’s just very unfortunate and I encourage you to do the best you can to not internalize that shame and not internalize that blame and instead use HIV as an opportunity to explore everything that you are and possibly help fight the stigma for everyone living with HIV by vocal, being a good role model, being an example to people around the world, people in your immediate surroundings.

But just know that you are supported, you are loved, you are worthy. I can’t stress that enough. And my other piece of advice would be get on treatment; get on treatment early. There are a lot of studies that show the earlier you get on treatment, the better your success and the results and can be. So, get with a physician you trust. Be very honest with them. Stay on your meds so the side effects are minimal. All that stuff is really good, so it’s really just about fighting the stigma, being empowered. If you need to reach out to someone like me, there’s a lot of people living with HIV that are doing really well.

I just wish you the best. You can find me on twitter @jackmackenroth or you can look me up on Facebook, whatever you need to do. So, best of luck to you. I know it can be a really scary time, but you’ll get through it and everything will totally be okay. I promise. Thanks.

Hello, it’s Timothy Ray Brown; the first person to be cured of HIV. Keep supporting research, keep working toward ending HIV stigma. This is conduction with You’ve Got This and Healthline.com. I’d like to throw a shout-out to the HIV Influencers Honors and the work that they’ve been doing in the HIV Community. Thank you.

Hey, what’s up? My name is Josh and as you can see, I am driving---

Hey, what’s up? My name is Josh and I am---

Let’s get real, okay?

On January 24, 2012, I found out that I was living with HIV after about three weeks of being sick. It was a pretty tough day. I was scared because HIV was something I didn’t want; I didn’t know about and I was nervous to have to tell my friends and family. I felt like a disappointment and it was pretty tough.

But since that time, there are some amazing things that I have learned and discovered. So, I really encourage you to use this change in your life for something even more amazing than you could ever consider.

I’m still me, you’ll still be you. Now, if you want to make a video like mine and have the awesome people at Healthline, hello, post your video on their website, then follow these simple instructions and get it back to them.

Hi guys! It’s Ji Wallace sending you a video message all the way from Down Under in Australia. It’s winter here, so we’re all rugged up inside. I’ve been asked to share a little story, a very quick story of how I deal with the day to day basics of living with HIV. When I first found out that I was living with HIV, I just wanted to scream at the world, ‘Know your status!’ If you know your status, then you can make really clear, defined, and educated decisions on how you’ve got to approach your life.

I’m in a very lucky position that I’ve got amazing friends and amazing family that support me, but my one thing for everybody out there is: It’s okay. You’ve got this. You’re life is your life to live. Don’t let HIV control who you are. Don’t let HIV dictate who you want to be. The world is open to you and I say ‘chase it’.

Once again, Ji Wallace calling from Australia to the You’ve Got This initiative. Thank you.

Hi, this is Ongina from Season 1 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Some of you may not know but I was diagnosed with HIV back in April of 2006. I wanted to reach out to you because if you’ve recently been diagnosed with HIV, don’t worry. You’ve got this. I know this because I went through it myself. I found support from my family and my friends and no matter difficult the day got or how difficult the situation became, I knew that I had this because I had the most amazing friends and family. And you do, too! So, please, stay happy, stay healthy, and lots of love from me, Ongina. And you know what? Don’t worry because I know that you’ve got this.

Hi. It’s Mark and I’ve been living with HIV for 30 years. Yes, that’s 3-0. That means I’m old, but keep listening. But here you are, watching videos online to get some encouragement after your HIV positive test result. That’s a very good sign. That means you’re smart enough to reach out for support when you need it. And that’s why I love this campaign, You’ve Got This.

Got what? That’s what you’re thinking, right? I got what? I’ve got HIV. Yeah, well you do. But you also have the ability to take action. Let me tell you some things you’re going to be hearing from people.

“Oh it’s not so bad. People live long lives.” They do.

“There are great medications. You’re going to be fine.”

Okay, that’s all very nice, but you may not be hearing it. I mean the fact that is that you might be shocked after being tested HIV positive. It is a major life event. So, allow your emotions to process this if you need to. If you need to freak out a little bit, that’s perfectly understandable. But not too long. Deal with it and get to work. You are going to be your own best advocate. See your doctor, take your meds, make a plan, and ask questions. You need to get educated about this. If your doctor doesn’t like explaining things, find another one. You’re the boss. Your doctor works for you.

Remember something: Testing HIV positive is not the last thing that’s going to happen to you. After I tested positive, I found a new job. After I tested positive, I moved to a new city. After I tested positive, I fell in love, a couple of times.

My life is pretty full. I go to the gym, I have fun with my friends, I work alongside my doctor, I even do drag sometimes for fun. It makes me laugh and laughter is good for your T cells. Don’t judge. I even write a blog about being an out, HIV positive man. I’m kind of out about a lot of things.

So, in a review, freak out a little bit if you want to, but not too long, get to work, make a plan with your doctor, do some drag….wait, wait, I don’t think you have to do drag. And look forward to the rest of your long, productive, and joyful life. You’ve got this.

Hello everyone, my name is Aaron and many of you may know me from my YouTube channel, My HIV Journey, where I’ve been chronicling my time with HIV since I was diagnosed on June 6, 2011. I also went on to be a published writer and have articles and OpEd pieces and, generally, just advocate for those living with HIV and AIDS.

Boy, if I think back to where I was a little over two years ago; 813 days ago, it was a scary place; a lot of unknowns. And through educating myself, through connecting with people in the community, I learned more about this disease and I learned more about myself than I thought I would probably ever know.

What do we know about HIV and what do I know about HIV? I know that HIV does not define me. I know that HIV is only one very small piece of who I am and what I am. I work hard every day and I don’t allow HIV to be the one thing that everyone knows me as. I’m a case manager; I’m a friend; I’m a funny person; I’m an activist and an advocate; I’m a writer, and yes, I happen to be HIV positive. I’m a person living with HIV. I’ve been blessed to do some amazing work with, as an ambassador, with the STIGMA project and in the leather community with Mr. Friendly. And I would just say to each and every one of you: What are some things that you can do? If you’re newly diagnosed, start medication now. If you’re not diagnosed and you haven’t been tested in a long time, get tested. Those are some starting points.

And, once you receive that diagnosis, allow some time for it to sink in but then employ resources that you have in your own community. Community support, counselors, friends. Do not live with this secret alone. I chose very early on to live my life out loud. Like me, love me, or leave me; my name is Aaron and I’m HIV positive. I’ve just—I never wanted to hide the fact that I’m living with HIV. We also know that one in five people that are HIV positive are unaware of their status. So, I always encourage those around us: Know your status. That’s where it all starts.

So, for you, if you’re newly diagnosed, you’ve got this. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow; it’s a gradual progression. No one wakes up one day and they are completely okay with being HIV positive. But believe me, you’ll get there. You’ll get there because inside you, you’ve got the power, you’ve got this intestinal fortitude, and you’ve gotten through some very tough situations and this is just one of them. Your life will go and you will accomplish some amazing things. You will do amazing things; the dreams you had prior to HIV, you can still have now with HIV. Yes, it changes life for sure, but it doesn’t end your life. This is not a death sentence. It does make us change the way we live our lives, but it doesn’t end our lives.

Until my next video, do something positive.

Hi, I’m Paul Lekakis and this fall will be the 25 year mark that I’ve been living with HIV. Has it been easy? Absolutely not. But, I’m still here. So, the best thing I could tell you is if you take care of yourself and, you know, that you can handle it, that you’ve got this if you take care of yourself. Now, I’m not a saint and I’ve made a lot of very large decisions in my life in order to stay healthy and I will continue to do so because I’m worth it. I am living proof and, just so you know, if you ever feel down, 25 years later, I’m still here.

This is Buddy. He’s my dog, he loves me.

You’ve got this. So, don’t worry so much. Just participate in your recovery from HIV. Thanks

You’ve got to live. L-H-I-V!

PH: Hey, what’s going on guys? This is Thunder.

T: And that’s Phalcon.

PH: What’s going on?

T: How you all doing? Listen, we’re here to educate you all and do this whole PSA. What we do is we talk about LHIV, Living with HIV. We’re both living with HIV. This is my best friend, my brister and my sister.

PH: They should put that in the dictionary.

T: A brister. Well, I actually got it from somebody on another line. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. We’re just talking about living with HIV and we want to tell you that you can live with HIV no matter what’s going on with you. I’ve been living with HIV for….

PH: Hold up, hold up, hold up. I got this. I want to go first.

T: Alright.

PH: Well, I’ve been living with HIV since 2011. It’s been over two years now and, you know, it’s been a roller-coaster, you know what I mean. But I’ve been…I’ve got great support, my family and everyone loves me, I’ve got this person here that’s, uh my nerve.

T: My best friend.

PH: I got him to rap with me. It’s one pill a day. It’s one pill at night. You go to bed, take a pill, and that’s it. I’m living, I look good, I feel good….

T: Now, hold up. I got this. Let me finish my story. I’ve been living with HIV since 1997.

PH: Whoo….That’s a long time.

T: Yes, I am 37 years old, thank you.

PH: 31! I’m sorry, I had to tell my age.

T: Can you please stop? Anyway, I’ve been living with HIV since ’97 and I have been living well. I take three pills a day and its okay. You’ve got this. If you find that you’re HIV positive, you can live.

PH: LHIV

T: You’ve got this.

PH: It’s easy I promise you.

T: Yes. Yes. Live! Bye y’all.

Hi, my name is Zak Kostopoulos and I’m sending you this message from Greece. I’ve been living with HIV for four years now and it’s been quite a journey but not an unpleasant one, all the way. I know that, if you’re newly diagnosed, if it’s something new to you, it might seem terrifying, it might seem like something you think you cannot handle, but trust me, you can. You can live a full and happy life living with HIV as long as you don’t let it get the best of you and you don’t give up.

First of all, I think it’s very important that you seek and you find support, whether it’s from friends, family, online, your local community, or professional help. I strongly believe that you should not face it all by yourself. In my case, I almost immediately told my close friends and I’ve been very lucky and it’s been very helpful to have their support from day one.

Also, I know that being diagnosed with HIV comes with a big amount of stigma and discrimination and stereotypes you’ll have to face, but it’s nothing to be ashamed about and no matter what anybody says and the fact that you have HIV does not make you unworthy or dirty or anything like that, it just makes you human. You’ll see that you will find that other people who feel the same way and will love and support you for who you are because you’re basically the same person.

Living with HIV, seek support, do whatever you have to to keep yourself healthy, start treatment, and if you know someone who’s living with HIV, if you have a friend or a family member, a colleague or whatever, you don’t have to change the way you act around them. You don’t have to change the way you treat them. It’s still the same. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

So, basically, I think that’s about it. Just don’t give up. Keep on smiling. Fight the stigma. Fight the stereotypes. Be yourself. And love. That’s all, thank you bye.

Hello, this is Staldons King from Las Vegas, Nevada and if you’ve been newly diagnosed with HIV, you’ve got this. When I was newly diagnosed, I was very emotional and very upset about everything. But with a lot of support and a lot of love, I made it through. And you can get that from anywhere, you can get that from friends, you can get that from everybody, you can get that from the community. Anybody and everybody is going to be able to love you and help you get through anything you need to get through.

I just want you to know to stay strong, stay positive, and you will make it through and you will be happy. You’ve got this.

Hello. My name is Martin Wilson and I live in Wichita, Kansas. I am 32 and I am HIV positive. I am approaching my ten year anniversary in November, so I felt that it was very fitting for me to be able to reach out to others now and to be able to talk about my life a little bit. Hopefully, it gives you some inspiration to anyone that has been affected by this or has been infected by it and so they are having a hard time.

You know, one of the main things I have learned is that you’re not living with HIV. HIV is living with you. It is inside of your body now, with your daily tasks. The main that you really have to focus on is that you take your medicines, that you do a proper diet, that you have the exercise. This is such an easy thing to take care of and it is really no different than from before you found out. But the great thing is you know it. So, you just have to respect that part of you and just take care of yourself. I know that I was scared when I found out because I didn’t know if I was going to be accepted by society; I didn’t know how my friends were going to take it; I didn’t even know if I was ever going to be able to date again. I’m happy enough to wear I have a wonderful partner; I’ve got two boys, so I’ve been very blessed in this aspect of it.

So, the main thing that I can tell you now is that you are an important person, you are a wonderful person; you just have to realize that this is now another feature added to your body so you have to respect it and you have to make sure that you take care of yourself, just so that way, you’re healthy and that you can live a normal life. I want you to realize that you’ve got this; you are an excellent person; you are a wonderful person. And most of all, remember you’re loved.

Again, my name is Martin from Wichita, Kansas and I hope I get to speak to more of you later in the future. Cheers

Hi. My name is Travis Holp and I was diagnosed with HIV in June. When I found out, I just happened to be out at a local bar and a local HIV and AIDS organization was there doing complimentary testing for bar patrons that evening. At the time, I thought, ‘Sure, why not? It’s been six months. It’s time.’ And prior to this happening, my friends and I always wondered what would happen if you were in a bar, getting tested, and you’re drunk, and there are people around you that you would have to see afterwards and face afterwards, and you found out you were positive. And, I now have an answer for everyone. I found out what it’s like and it’s terrible. But I’m glad that I got tested. That test that night potentially saved my life. I’m so thankful that I had that test done.

Finding out at first was an initial shock and it was really hard talking to my friends and my family about it. And every time I would talk to one of them about it, I would start to cry. I could barely get the phrase ‘I have HIV’ out of my mouth. It’s gotten a lot easier over the past couple of months to talk about it and be open about it. You know, having HIV over the past few months and talking to doctors and friends and family and having a support system, it’s really opened my eyes to the way I lived my life before. I have such an appreciation for life and how beautiful it truly is and this disease doesn’t define me and it doesn’t define you. It’s not who you are; it’s just a part of you. And you will get through it and you’ll make it.

Find a support system, surround yourself with positive people. If you don’t have close family or close friends, there are support groups out there and people that are willing to listen and to talk to you and to help you get through it. You’re not alone. Don’t think you are ever, ever alone in this. And, just remember, when things get very, very tough, three very important words: You’ve got this.

Hey, what’s going on, everyone? This is Patrick and I’m from thepozlifeofpatrick.com and also that guy from YouTube that talks about how he found out he had HIV. So, I’m coming up on my second year of living with HIV and I can say that it has been bittersweet. But the most important thing that I can tell someone who has been living with HIV or has just found out that they are HIV positive is that you’ve got this. You’ve got this.

It’s very…it’s mental. It’s up here. And the key is, my bit of advice, which is the key, but it’s about keeping your affirmations, staying positive, in an optimistic mindset and knowing that things are going to be so much better going forward. And it’s about knowing what you need to do, going to your doctor, taking your medications, and just taking care of you. Taking care of you is so important. All the drama and other things, let it go.

You’ve got this. Know that you do. I say it, so you should know it.

Hi everyone. My name is Eric Trujillo. I am from NYC and I’m here to tell you that if you’ve recently been diagnosed with HIV or struggling with your status, you’ve got this. I was diagnosed five years ago and I thought that I was going to die shortly after diagnosis from this virus. I was completely petrified. Um, but that wasn’t the case. Five years later, here I am; very happy, very healthy.

Although, the first few years were very, very difficult. Especially with the fear of taking medication that I thought would have serious, serious side effects. But that wasn’t the case. I took this medication and had no side effects and I felt stronger and stronger every single day.

Of course, the support and love that I received from my family and my friends helped me cope every day with this virus. I tried to keep occupied, I tried to stay healthy, I tried to exercise and get enough rest; in other words, move on living every single day with the virus.

So, here I am five years later, very happy, living a very fulfilling life and you can, too, because you’ve got this.

Hi, my name is Malina, aka MeMe, and I’ve been HIV positive for the past three years now. Actually, I found out October 13, 2010 and, you know what, I’m still here. Um, so I guess my message is to those who are newly diagnosed is that um, it doesn’t change who you are and it doesn’t make you less of a person in any kind of way. So, just know that your status, it shouldn’t shame you, you shouldn’t feel ashamed because, at the end of the day, we’re still beautiful people. And we still are people, we still have feelings, and we have hearts and I just wanted to let you know that you’ve got this. Trust me. It’s not always easy in the beginning, but trust me, once you understand what’s actually going on and you educate yourself, you will be okay. I can guarantee you that.

You know, one of the strangest things about being diagnosed with a chronic disease is that you immediately, you’re walking out of the doctor’s office, you’ve been given this diagnosis, and you know what the funny thing is? We’re talking about HIV here, but it could be any chronic disease, whether it is the Big C or anything else. The Big C, hey, our old folks used to talk about the Big C, that’s cancer, now when we talk about HIV, we say the Big H. Sounds very similar.

You immediately go into, ‘I’m gonna die.’ Now, there’s one thing in life that we’re all gonna do and we’re all gonna die. And that didn’t change before you knew that you had a chronic disease. And yet, for some unknown reason it becomes the key focus once you’re told and I think that self-harm doesn’t make any logical sense.

It took me a little while, of course, to get to the point where I realized, wait a minute, focusing on dying when I’m actually still alive really is foolishness. Um, but then people can add to that and without thinking, people will say things like, you know, I go to speak somewhere in (Inaudible 1:14) and be introduced as, ‘Our next guest speaker is a victim of aids’ or ‘a sufferer.’ And immediately, I’m sitting there thinking, panic-struck that I’m going to stand up in a few seconds and here’s the place to start. Usually, on a good day, I can stand up and say, ‘Good day. My name is Alan. I’m a conqueror, I’m not a victim.’ And I don’t have AIDS, I’m HIV positive and I’m thriving and surviving.

I remember I was done, just when my book was published, called ‘Positively Alive’ and I was done and I’d been called by the editor, saying…the editor and the publishers, saying ‘The book was on the shelf.’ And so, I was in East London and I was like, ‘I wonder if (Inaudible 1:57) in East London has got a copy. And I dashed off, cause I hadn’t even seen what it looks like in final print, and walked in and, of course, couldn’t find it on the shelf. So, I went up to the counter to ask whether there was a book, whether they had a copy of the book, ‘Positively Alive’ by Alan Brand. And, the guy looked in the system and said, ‘They’ve got it on order, but they hadn’t received theirs yet.’ What is the book about?

So, I said it’s a book about-it’s actually me, it’s my book. He’s a really, really young guy, and I said, ‘It’s my book; I’m the author; I wrote the book and it’s about living and thriving with HIV.’ And I remember he’s eyes, just sort of like lit up and he said, ‘Wow, that’s amazing. Tell me more about your book.’ And, the conversation immediately was about living with HIV because I didn’t come about-just think of the name of the book, positive alive, not HIV positive and dying. And that’s exactly it, it’s a change of mindset.

Hi everyone, my name is Kevin Maloney. I am the founder of Rise Up to HIV on Facebook and Twitter and I currently run No Shame about Being HIV Positive campaign. March 3, 2010 is when I found out that I was HIV positive and I was also diagnosed with Hepatitis C. What got me through the early days of my diagnosis was searching sites like thebody.com, Poz, magazines websites, Healthline, and several others, but what really worked for me and what really got me through the day was connecting with individuals like you all over the world.

That’s what prompted me to create a blog, at first. And in my blog, I talked about my experiences, my strength, and my hope living with HIV and HepC. That is something that I encourage you to do. There is no greater feeling than writing down how you’re feeling in hopes that it will inspire or empower somebody else.

During my work over these past few years, working in social media, and connecting with individuals across the globe, I have realized that there is strength in numbers; there is power when you come together and talk about our common experiences. So, I encourage you to put pen to paper. Start writing down your thoughts, start sharing your story, cause you’ll never know who may need to hear, who will hear it and be inspired.

Hello, my name is Demarcus Brooks and I am coming out of Las Vegas, Nevada and you’ve got this. I did it; I understand; I’ve been there. I’ve been living with HIV now for eight years and I know how scary it can be, I know how emotions could just fly all over the place. But just know that, in this journey, you will learn a lot about yourself and hopefully you will allow your diagnosis to allow you to be a better person. Get connected to resources, get as much education as you can about this disease because the reality is we will be living with this for our lifetime so know as much as you can about it. Surround yourself with people who will love and support and embrace you in this because your support system is like a net for you, for you to be able to fall on.

So, um, yeah, hang in there. It gets better, trust me. It gets better. And, you’ve got this.

Hello. My name is Harold Scott and I’ve been living with HIV now for 24 years. My advice to you if you’re newly diagnosed with HIV is to understand that it is indeed a serious condition but there have been lots of advances made in the treatment of HIV since I started taking meds back in the early nineties.

First and foremost, understand that your life is not over. Even though it’s shocking news when you get the news, just realize that you’re not alone and there are lots of people like you who are newly diagnosed and many, like myself, who have been living with the disease for several years. I would suggest that you find a doctor and healthcare team to get connected with and get into a treatment program, discuss your options of treatment; the different meds that are out there that your doctor will discuss with you; and gather information that you can regarding HIV. And, if you need to get into a support group of some type, that’s okay, too.

I would recommend that you try to take good care of yourself overall. Just realize that your life is not over. Like I said, there have been lots of advances in the treatment over the years, there’s new drugs and treatments coming down the pipeline all the time. And understand that you can live and live productively with HIV, but it’s something that you do need to take seriously; to follow your doctor’s advice. If you’re started on a treatment program, take those meds as prescribed and just know that you’ll be okay.

And like I said, if you need to get involved with a support group, there are lots of groups out there that you could get connected with; lots of different types of support. Living with HIV is something that is a part of your life once you find that you’re infected, but it doesn’t have to be what your whole life is about.

Just take good care of yourself and try to do the best that you can to understand that you’re not alone. I’ll agree that it is shocking news when you first find out, but it, by no means, means your life is over. Just take good care of yourself and my biggest advice would be to listen to your doctor and listen to your own body and not be afraid to let your doctor know if there’s something going on, if you have questions or just need more information from an expert.