HIV diagnosis no longer a death sentence - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

HIV diagnosis no longer a death sentence

HIV - those three letters used to be a death sentence.

Darrell Latin got the diagnosis in 1994.

Like many others, Latin refused to believe he had the disease. He narrowed it down to contraction from sharing needles or sexual activity.

With nearly 20 medications a day, he was waiting to die.

His siblings ostracized him, afraid they too would get HIV.

"They were afraid to touch me," Latin said. "I ate from paper plates, they wouldn't let me do my laundry."

But after learning more and more about the disease, Latin began to flourish.

A brief bout with addiction set him back, but as his family began to accept his diagnosis, so did he.

Twenty-three years later, Latin takes just eight pills a day.

New developments combine a number of medications into just one pill called Complara.

Latin now works to educate people on HIV, AIDS and encourages everyone to know their status.

The Southwest Louisiana AIDS Council offers free confidential testing.

The test is a finger prick and can give results within 20 minutes.

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