The Changing Face of AIDS : 'I Think About What's Good . . . and I Just Try to Go On' : Jason Jasnos, 25, Santa Monica

I found out I was HIV-positive in 1989, when I was 19. The hardest thing was telling my mom.

I didn't want to tell anyone. I just wanted to be alone. But my mom got me help and I learned about the length of time I have left, and that I didn't have to be abstinent the rest of my life.

That same year I met a woman who was 28, nine years older. I guess I didn't understand all that much, because I got her pregnant.

I suggested she get an abortion, but she wouldn't hear of it. She really wanted the baby. I said OK. I went through Lamaze with her, and she took HIV tests every three months. She remained negative. My son was born negative too. She took my son and left town, and I have no idea where they are. I want very much to see my son.

I grew up in the Venice area, went to Santa Monica High School and Santa Monica City College.

In the six years I've known I'm HIV-positive, my attitude has been evolving. When I had a lot of T cells I thought, "I'll probably beat this thing." No worries. As my T cells went down, I accepted more of the reality that I may get sick. I try to roll with the punches.

Sometimes I'm really devastated about what could happen. People with AIDS usually die a slow, painful death. When I think about that I get freaked out. Then I think about what's good in my life and I just try to go on.

My girlfriend of two years is the best thing that ever happened to me. I liked her in junior high, but she said "no way" when I asked her out. She learned I was HIV-positive through an article in the college newspaper. She came around and asked if I wanted to talk about it. Next thing I knew we were a couple.

I was molested at the age of 13. At the age of 19 I heard that the guy who molested me had died of AIDS. So I got tested.

It's possible I passed the virus to some women because from the age of 13 to 19 I had no idea I was infected and I had sex with about eight or nine women in that time.

I'm working like a dog right now. I'm an artist and an actor. I believe you must do what you love and the money will follow. It seems to be happening. My girlfriend is so supportive, and that is what keeps me enthusiastic.

I wish things were simpler, but these are the cards I've been dealt. I have no options.

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