Louisa* was 27 when she was diagnosed with HIV.
From the day of her diagnosis, she has experienced the very prevalent stigma that still exists towards those that are HIV-positive.
"When I was diagnosed, I was completely numb and really confused," Louisa told Mamamia.
"To begin with, the internal stigma was hard to deal with, but then I experienced it from someone who worked in the health field only minutes after I had been given my diagnosis.
"As I went to have further blood tests, I handed over my form to the phlebotomist. They looked me up and down, disgusted, and placed a large ‘infectious’ sticker on my blood slip."
Watch: What it's like living with HIV. Post continues below.
Due to daily medication, Louisa’s HIV is undetectable, meaning the virus count is so low that it cannot be picked up by testing. It also means she can't pass it on to anyone else, including intimate partners or future children.
Despite this, Louisa still faces judgment from others when she tells them of her diagnosis, often due to a lack of education about the virus.
It's especially evident when she shares her experiences with dating.
“I have tried multiple different ways of meeting people. Online dating, multiple different websites, even the 'positive singles' website which is specifically for anyone who has experienced an STI.
"When it comes to talking about my HIV status to anyone in the dating scene, it is daunting. Telling people in person, no matter if it’s a first meeting or after a few dates, is really nerve-wracking. Because I still don’t know what makes them tick or what their temper is like. I could be walking into a really bad abusive situation."