POZ Stories : James Tuttle

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May 16, 2014

James Tuttle

Wilmington, North Carolina
Positive since 1997

I grew up in the Bible Belt of North Carolina. I started having sex at a very young age and never heard of AIDS. I got married right out of high school just to prove to myself that I was not gay. I was married by the time I was 20 years old. Boy, was that a mistake. I was cruising the streets downtown looking for anyone to have sex with. I soon found out about AIDS but that didn't stop me.

In 1997, I got really sick and didn’t tell anyone that I had been sneaking around. When the doctor came in, they told my family that I was just about dead but that they had a new medicine that they could try on me.

It’s now 2014 and I have been undetectable for 16 years. I thank my doctors and my children and my grandchildren and my wife.

What three adjectives best describe you?
Kind, funny and caring

What is your greatest achievement?
Staying alive

What is your greatest regret?
Getting married

What keeps you up at night?
Just thinking how I am going to die

If you could change one thing about living with HIV, what would it be?
To not keep it a secret

What is the best advice you ever received?
To be yourself

What person in the HIV/AIDS community do you most admire?
Greg Louganis

What drives you to do what you do?
My grandchildren

What is your motto?
To live and let live!

If you had to evacuate your house immediately, what is the one thing you would grab on the way out?
My cats

If you could be any animal, what would you be? And why?
A cat. Because they have no worries in the world!

Search: James Tuttle, Wilmington, North Carolina

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