I was born in East L.A. and started being sexually active when I was thirteen. I was really curious and experimented a lot.

When I was in high school, I wanted to know my HIV status, because I had many partners in the past. So I took a test. I went to the clinic with my mom. The doctor told me that I was HIV-positive and I was shocked. I didn’t cry or anything, I just couldn’t believe it. I never knew anybody who was HIV-positive. I was in denial. The doctor told me that I needed to see a therapist, to get help.

I was diagnosed when I was seven- teen. I’m nineteen now. I haven’t finished high school yet. I was going to drop out because I was depressed, but I decided to go back to school so I could have a career. I want to study ultrasound tech for pregnant women. I think it’s interesting—babies, and being born. I think it’s really cool.

I have a big Mexican family. I love spending time with them, especially my cousins. We’re really close. My family knows that I’m gay. But they don’t all know that I’m HIV-positive because I don’t want to freak them out. My mom knows, but my dad doesn’t. He’s not really involved in my life. He just works. And drinks, every weekend. That’s pretty much it.

I’m not really a sexual person. Maybe before, but I look at it differently now that I’m positive. Before, I would have sex with friends, guys I knew, and now I’m HIV-positive. So it didn’t go that well. But now it’s different. I’m in a relationship and sex is not the major thing.

Jose and I met in an HIV group. We’re both HIV-positive. We come from the same background. We’re Mexicans and we have the same last name. He’s taking meds. I used to take meds, but I stopped. I want to start again. It’s just a little problem with my medical insurance.

Jose is really kind. He likes to eat a lot! As soon as I saw him, he caught my attention. He was really loud. He asked me for my number and after a few weeks he called me, because he didn’t want to sound too desperate. We’ve been together one year and four months. It’s my longest relationship. We’ve been talking about having kids, about the future. It’s great to have someone in my life.