Central Florida congressional candidate announces he is HIV positive

Bob Poe says he's been living with HIV for 18 years

ORLANDO, Fla. – A candidate for Florida's 10th Congressional District announced he is HIV positive on Thursday, June 9. Bob Poe has been been HIV positive for the past 18 years.

"It's right now about coming out of the shadows, coming into the light and making sure there's no fear and for this stigma," Poe says.

Poe recently met a woman who revealed to him she was HIV positive.

After hearing her story, he says he felt guilty that he did not share that he was, too. In a video posted on his Facebook page, he discussed his diagnosis. Also in the video were intimate details about his marriage to his wife and later coming out as a gay man.

After announcing he is HIV positive, Poe says he has been shown support from friends and family.

"I've received literally hundreds of text messages and emails in the last few hours today, everyone of them have been supportive," he says.

He doesn't want anyone who found out they are HIV positive to be afraid. Poe says he currently takes one pill a day, and is healthy.

"If people get treated and they get the medication they're going to be perfectly healthy and they'll be able to live their hopes and dreams just like I have," he says. 

In the coming weeks he plans on going to a community event about HIV and AIDS. Poe hopes to inspire other people to get tested and raise awareness.