College senior lives a full life after after HIV diagnosis
Four years ago, Grady was diagnosed with HIV and has since had to deal with what it means to have the disease, the Northwest Missourian reported.
He discussed with the news source what it's like to be a young, gay male with HIV, and reported that some people are afraid to interact with him, while others accept him for who he is, regardless of his HIV status.
Since his diagnosis, Grady has come a long way. He told the news source that when he was first diagnosed, he avoided social situations, but, as he became accustomed to his condition, he began making his way back into the social scene. Grady said he has been engaging in sexual activity again and told the news source that he has had 22 different partners since he contracted the virus.
"Behind every cliché you'll find something more complex," Grady told the Northwest Missourian. "There's a large stigma with people that are positive and being open about it. You are still a regular human being. You can still protect yourself. There's a risk, but if you really like somebody, then they are worth protecting yourself for."
This is an important message for young people who are at risk for or have HIV. In 2009, nearly 40 percent of new HIV cases in the U.S. were diagnosed among individuals between the ages of 13 and 29, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of these cases, almost 70 percent were observed among men who have sex with men. Currently, there is no cure for the condition, but research has resulted in significant advancements in treating and slowing the progression of HIV/AIDS.