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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Not 'someone else's problem'

Lutherans help people with HIV/AIDS embrace life

Roberto (last name withheld), 38, has lived with HIV for more than half his life. He's also battling severe gastrointestinal disease and is a leukemia survivor. Each day, he takes a cocktail of 10 pills to treat the HIV and cancer.

Since his HIV diagnosis in the early 1990s, Roberto has faced many challenges. He remembers the day he shared his positive status with his best friend, who mistakenly feared the virus was airborne. He used a spray bottle with bleach to disinfect everything Roberto touched. "How can one day people say 'I love you,' and the next day destroy your insides?" he asked.

Recently, Roberto moved into St. Martin House, a Lutheran-supported transitional home for people living with HIV in San Bernardino, Calif. He said his health and happiness have significantly improved since the move, adding, "I'm getting my life back."


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