Lee and Lucas Courtney: United States

Less than a year after learning their status, Lucas Courtney and his brother Lee became confident speakers on behalf of EGPAF – sharing their experiences as HIV-positive children, prompting others to take action, and reducing the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. Today, they are healthy, active boys who enjoy friends, sports, and school. The Courtney family continues to support EGPAF's work, advocating on behalf of the organization at university “Up for the Fight” Dance Marathons and participating in EGPAF events around the country.

My name is Lucas, and I have a brother named Lee. We’re both living with HIV. We didn’t know we were HIV-positive until one day last summer, when my mom told us why we had to take so much medicine and why we went to the doctor so often.

When I heard of HIV for the first time, I had no idea what it was. My mom showed us books with pictures of the virus and taught us about how it attacks our immune systems. Knowing I was HIV-positive seemed scary at first, but it soon began to make sense. My mom told Lee and me that we got HIV from our biological mothers, who passed it on to us in the womb.

It is hard to live with HIV, but I know it will never go away. Now, the only choice is to take all my meds and keep the virus at bay. Some of our meds taste absolutely awful. As bad as it seems to live with HIV, I realize how lucky we are to live in a dedicated family and place where we get good care.

Hopefully someday soon, there will be a cure for HIV. Until then, the most important thing we can do is eliminate pediatric AIDS by preventing the transmission of HIV from moms to their children. We can eliminate it if we raise money, educate people who don’t understand, and help the moms and kids that need it.

I dream of a world free of HIV so no other kids have to become a victim of this virus.