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How This HIV Advocate Channeled His Pain Into Purpose

Josh Robbins didn't see it coming. Who does really?

But at 29 he was diagnosed with HIV and everything changed.

The first days were spent curled up on the floor.

He searched for anything he could find about HIV on Google. He didn't leave his apartment.

A visit from his mom and dad provided him the love and support he needed. His father's words were simple: you've got to live your life.

Soon, his fear and panic turned to resolve. He overcame the misperceptions and decided to take his situation and find purpose in it.

He created Imstilljosh.com to start a conversation about what it really means to be HIV-positive.

As Josh came to terms with his diagnosis, he realized he actually had seen it coming. He thought about HIV every time he had sex. The virus was a ghost that traveled with him, or so he felt. "I finally had to come to grips with the one thing, the only thing, I feared," he says.

In some ways becoming positive has actually had a freeing effect on Josh. He was able to jump into blogging and learn about social media, about what works and what doesn't. He learned that his content had to be compelling and unexpected. What started as an outlet to tell his immediate community about his status became a much larger community where people draw strength from one another.

"I don't see myself as courageous,” he says. “That would mean that people who keep their feelings about being HIV-positive private are not courageous. That is not true."

Josh's posts and videos keep it real. He isn't afraid of controversy. He also isn't afraid to show his vulnerability. He is a charming, optimistic, and often humorous voice in the discussion around HIV.

Johnson & Johnson supports his mission to foster more open dialogue about HIV. Josh has appeared at the company’s conferences and enjoys partnering with Johnson & Johnson on the critical issues of HIV education, awareness, and prevention.

"I never planned on any of this, obviously, but you make the best of what is in front of you," he says.


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