Andrew Pulsipher was born with HIV. His father died of Aids when he was four and his mother died of Aids when he was eight. He grew up with his aunt and uncle where he said he had a normal upbringing, and for 33 years barely anyone knew he was living with the virus.
But recently Pulsipher changed that. He shared a picture on his Facebook page of himself, his wife and his three children because he wanted to show what a healthy family with a member who is HIV positive can look like and to help break down stigma around the virus and educate people.
Pulsipher, 34, who will this year be celebrating his 10 year anniversary with his wife Victoria, wrote: “I know HIV has a negative stigma, but it doesn’t have to and I want to help change that. It is a treatable disease and you can have a normal life with it.
“I want to educate people so we can get past the ‘How you got the disease’ to ‘How are you living your life with it?’,” he said.
The picture in his Facebook post says: “Having a negative family can be the most positive thing in your life,” which has now been shared more than 12,000 times.
When Pulsipher first told Victoria about being HIV positive, she was fine with it. “I kind of just assumed I would get it too, and that was OK with me, because I loved him and I wanted to be with him,” she told 12 News.
In pictures: World Aids Day
They had their first child by using fertility treatment. “We did something called sperm washing,” Pulsipher wrote on Facebook. “I give them a sample and they wash out the seamen and keep the sperm and then with fertility treatment we try and get pregnant.”
It took three attempts for the couple to have their first child, but since Pulsipher’s HIV has become “undetectable,” he and his wife chose to have their second two children naturally. The risk of Victoria becoming HIV positive while Pulsipher’s virus is “undetectable” is one per cent, he said, but he made it clear the couple “always use protection” despite his good health unless they are trying for children.
Since sharing the picture of his family and his story Pulsipher has received hundreds of messages of support on Facebook, with people calling him “an inspiration”.