I am an LPN, HIV+ , Diagnosed 10 1/2 years ago w/ PCP, CD4 was 96, viral load >100,000. Went on disability for a while. I battled a long time with myself as to whether I was fit to be a nurse anymore. I, too was most likely infected by unprotected sex.
I don't tell anyone my status. Only my best friends and my husband and my parents know. I don't talk about it much, I once heard someone say "there's nothing like attention that makes the virus grow". Don't know if it's true or not, but feels right to me. I never dwell on it, I only think of it when I take my meds or when I'm on the web (The Body is a great resource).
I'm very happy to have found this site and so glad You started this thread, Herecomestrouble.
I have had some difficulty when getting pre-employment physicals, my family doctor wasn't going to say yes to the question: Is patient is free of communicable disease? I got really angry, but kept my cool and said if you have a problem with that question, leave it blank, and she did. I filled it in later.
After years of struggling inside, I have come to realize that I am more careful on the job than a lot of other nurses with Universal precautions and handwashing and i know I don't pose a threat to anyone. If anything I am more careful, knowing my status. I went back to work full time last year, and I will be finishing my RN in 1 year.
It is amazing however, that so much sterotyping and stigma still goes along with this illness especially in the medical community. This is why I keep silent about my status.