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Deondre & Kathy (Coming Home)

Deondre: Wanna play? So can you come up? C’mon. Now give me a hug. That’s what I’m talking about. You hungry at all? This is my home. This is where I grew up, where I can always come back to. This is my family.

Kathy: When he told me he was HIV positive, I was very afraid.

Deondre: I know my mom loves me, but I didn’t know what her response was going to be. She could’ve said you know, “I hate this happened to you, but you can’t be here anymore.” Or this – ah – you’re not my son anymore. I’ve heard horrible stories before and that’s what I was afraid of, but that’s not what she said.

Kathy: We prayed. And I explained to him, I refuse to bury my child.

Deondre: She said – you’re going to be okay. Because I love you. We’ll take care of what needs to be taken care of. We got this.

Kathy: Ever since he came and told me about it and after we went to the doctor together. I could see the relief.

Deondre: They were there for me. They comforted me.

Kathy: It was a burden lifted off. Knowing that they know and that they’re still there for support.

Deondre: I shouldn’t have to hide who I am or what I am or what’s a part of my life from anyone. I felt like everything was going to be okay now. And I don’t have to do it alone. I have my family here with me.

Kathy: And I just hope everyone else will be there for their loved ones for their families.

Deondre was in his first year of college when he was diagnosed with HIV. He had heard stories about others being rejected by their loved ones for sharing their status, but that’s not what happened to him. When he told his mom, he recalls, “She said, ‘you’re going to be OK. Because I love you… We got this.'”

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A person with HIV who is in ongoing care can live a normal lifespan. In addition to improving health, HIV treatment also prevents the spread of the virus to others.

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