A lot has changed in the medical field over the last 30 years but living a long life with HIV still doesn't seem to be realistic for so many.
However, people who know say it's all about being proactive and staying engaged.
Bill Taylor has been HIV positive since 1986. He says back then, doctors didn't have exposure to the information and a lot of people were misdiagnosed.
He says, "Mistakes can be made. No one knows everything and I think a little knowledge goes a long way. ...I'm very proactive in my health care, I have a say."
Officials at the AIDS Response Effort couldn't agree more with that approach. They say being involved in your own health care is key in living a healthy life with HIV.
The most recent figures from the Virginia Department of Health might shock you.
Education and Outreach Coordinator at A.R.E., Janet Tinkham, tells TV3, "It could be possibly as high as 50 percent of individuals who are diagnosed with HIV who are not engaged in health care."
She says, "What we hope to do is try to locate individuals, re-engage them and really work and support them in identifying what the barriers were."
She is talking about barriers like putting other priorities over your health care, like taking care of a loved one.
Living with addiction is another example.
Tinkham says some people still have the perception of how it used to be, when being diagnosed with HIV was seen as a death sentence.
To that she says, "But now there's the potential to get into treatment, take medication that really can allow you to stay healthy."
Tinkham says outreach in the community has been their best tool to get information to people about the latest treatment options.
She has found that information could be what inspires someone to get tested.