“This is my first day in Amsterdam ever. Mom has already been here and today she took me with her. The buildings here are so big and there are so many people on the street. We just met a man who is an artist. He makes hats and T-shirts and look he made this hat with my name on it and mom bought it for me. Tomorrow I’m going to show everyone in my class. Amsterdam is so nice. I hope we can come back here.”

(2/2)“When I heard I was HIV-positive I didn’t cry. Neither did my world collapse. The first thing that went through my mind was, now I have this label attached to me and I’m never getting rid of it. I will always be the one who is HIV-positive. The second thing that went through my mind was the concern that I might infected someone else. The first person I called after I found out was a friend who is also a colleague of mine. Her first reaction was: ’‘I will be here for you! No matter what, I still love you.” Those words hit me hard and I started to cry for the first time. Three months have passed I feel really good. Of course I’m devastated that I have this virus but at the same time I’m not an unhappy person. Finding happiness is something I have fought for my entire life. When I found out I was HIV-positive it hit me hard. The first weeks I cried a lot but now I’m getting my life back on the road. I have a wonderful job, great friends and supportive parents. I’m open about it because I find it important to be honest and I hate lying. I have decided to take matters into my own hands and I won’t let the HIV define me or determine my happiness.“

(½) “In a previous relationship I made the mistake of having unprotected sex. I met a really nice guy a few months ago and because our relationship started to get more serious I wanted to make sure I didn’t have an STD. I made a doctors appointment to get tested on a Friday. Wednesday morning after I got tested I received a phone call from the doctor’s assistant. She asked if I could come over that same day. Because I work on Wednesdays I asked her if I could come over on Friday, which is my day off. I kept having this terrible anxiety so I decided to leave work early that day to go and get my test results. I was sitting in the doctor’s office and I felt something was wrong. I kept thinking I might be pregnant. Then the doctor asked: ’‘Do you have any idea why you are here?” I told her I was expecting the worst. Then the doctor said: There is no good way to tell you this but you are HIV-positive.“

“When I told my dad I wanted to travel the world but that I was too afraid to do it all by myself, he said: ’‘If you are always going to wait for other people to join you, there is a big chance you will never get to do the things you dream of.”

“This is my favorite ball!”