Huttonsville, West Virginia
Positive since 1991

My name is Randy Cooper. I’m incarcerated at Huttonsville Correctional Center of West Virginia. I’ve been living with AIDS since the ’90s. I contracted the virus because of a promiscuous lifestyle. I was diagnosed in Chicago at the age of 21. It was around the time when Magic Johnson had made his announcement. I’m now 44.

I remember all the ignorance, fear and peer pressure I’ve been through regarding HIV/AIDS. Being incarcerated in the South, I still face many challenges, stigma and discrimination. I was taking Crixivan but recently switched my medication to Kaletra. I suffer from high triglycerides, dizziness and a few other side effects.

What three adjectives best describe you?
Funny, bright, ambitious

What is your greatest achievement?
My vocational skills. I am a certified technician and have an NCEER certificate.

What is your biggest regret?
Being promiscuous

What keeps you up at night?
Having a bad day

If you could change one thing about living with HIV, what would it be?
The medication

What is the best advice you ever received?
Don’t ever give up hope.