John Paul Womble, 40, Raleigh, NC, diagnosed in 1994 and Johnathan Cranford, 39, Charlotte, NC, diagnosed in 2007

What John Paul (PozScorpioNC) says:

“I joined in the summer of 2007, but I really wasn’t using it very much. I reposted in December, and I did what most people do—I began searching, only looking at pictures. But it’s funny the way it played out: At the end of one of the posting pages, there was one posting without a picture. Frankly, I was looking at the guy in the picture above it, and I accidentally clicked the wrong one, the one without a picture. I read it and really liked what the guy had to say, so I wrote to him. Right after Christmas, I got an e-mail from John saying ‘thanks for your response, give me a call.’ We started talking everyday, sometimes four or five times a day. We decided to meet, so I went down to Charlotte to see him. The most amazing part is that though I’ve thought I was in love so many times in the course of my life, it’s always been about trying to make it work. Everything from day 1 with John has taken no effort. It’s simple. He makes me laugh, our values are the same, and we have the same feelings about monogamy and all the things that matter to us. Who would’ve thought we’d meet on; it’s not the place I expected to meet the love of my life! It was all accidental, yet seamless and easy. We just celebrated our one-month anniversary. I am driving down to Charlotte at 5 today for Valentine’s Day. I’ll be at dinner with him by 7:30, and then we’re going to the mountains for the weekend. I’m meeting his mother! He met my mother last Sunday. I don’t know any other way to describe it, except it feels like a roller coaster except I’m in a very safe seat with a very good person, buckled in for the ride.”

What Johnathan (newbie0505) says:

“He sounded like a pretty interesting fellow in terms of the way he wrote his first e-mail. I can’t even remember what it said. It’s funny, I actually saw that he lived in Raleigh, and at first, I wasn’t even going to respond because it was three hours away! But I said ‘What the hell, why not.’ It was kind of a leap of faith, I guess. I looked at his profile, and he did have a picture. I thought, ‘Oh, he’s cute!’ And what he was looking for seemed in alignment with what I was looking for, in terms of a long-term relationship, monogamy, and he seemed to have somewhat of a spiritual background of sorts. The physical description wasn’t bad either! (Laughs). So that’s kind of it. That’s how it all kind of happened. I’ve met people online before, but I didn’t think I could meet someone that I would consider spending the rest of my life with. I just completely fell head over heels in love with him. It’s very bizarre. I’d been kind of jaded for many years, leading up to even the point where I tested positive, and John Paul completely overwhelmed me. I didn’t expect it at all.  He’s going to come to Charlotte tonight, and this sounds really boring, but we’re going to job-search…we’re going to try to find me a job in Raleigh. So, I think that’s it. There’s hope for everybody, if they believe in it."

—as told to Nicole Joseph

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