POZ Stories: Blane Oborny
by Trenton Straube
Four years ago, the then-20-year-old Blane Oborny had dreams of building a pizza empire—and he already owned two restaurants in Kansas. By the end of that year, though, he became very ill from wasting syndrome. The culprit was HIV. “I didn’t know how that could be possible,” he recalls, “because two weeks before I got sick, I’d had a blood test that came back negative.”
The HIV diagnosis set off a chain of life-changing decisions. Oborny started meds, got educated about the virus and become inspired to help others. He began working for a nonprofit and also got certified to do rapid testing and safe-sex counseling. Figuring that his pizza businesses in the small communities would be ruined once word got out about his HIV status, Oborny sold the eateries and moved to Kansas City, where he is now pursuing a modeling career as well as a degree in sociology and public health. “It has become my dream to help change the stigma the world has placed on people living with HIV,” he says.
With his can-do attitude—“I can get out of bed every day and treat it as a new day filled with opportunities to rectify the mistakes of yesterday”—he’s sure to deliver the goods.
To read more about Oborny and other POZ Stories, or to tell your own tale of empowerment, visit poz.com/stories.
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