When I tested positive in the spring of 2005, it felt like the end of the world. HIV was this boogieman that I had been taught to hate and fear since before I really understood how sex worked, and suddenly this monster was inside me. I was sure that I had been handed a death sentence. Not only was I going to die, but there was a part of me that wanted to die. Because who could love a man with a monster living inside him? How could such a man ever find happiness? That was almost seven years ago, and my life clearly isn’t “over.” I have great friends, an adorable dog, and an awesome fella who loves me. But to get here, I had to walk a long, hard road littered with guilt, depression, and more than a little self-destructive behavior. It’s my hope that the advice below, lessons learned the hard way, might make your life a little easier.