Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Since 1998, December 1st has been commemorated as World AIDS day, where people worldwide unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Almost 16 years ago a routine doctors visit turned Brian Morgan's entire world upside down.
"I didn't know what to think. I was like it can't be," he said.
"He [the doctor]kept looking at his papers and shuffling the papers and then all of a sudden he just looked up, he didn't know what else to do and he says 'Brian, I'm sorry you're HIV positive,'" Morgan said.
A month later he told his family.
"I got her and my grandfather in the same room and I told them. And my mom just flew out of the house and lost it," he said. "My grandfather just looked at me and he's like, 'You're going to be OK, aren't you?'"
Knowing his grandfather didn't fully understand the disease made him want to spread the word.
"When you're looking at somebody in the face and they're actually living with the disease that you've known about and that you've heard about it's a whole different situation. And people really sit up and start listening," Morgan said.
But being brave for the public is even harder when your family fears you.
"They write names on cups and they would use all plastic cups where we never did that before. And put your name on the cup. If I lost mine, this person in my family would throw them all out . 20- something cups and get everybody new ones," he said.
Morgan said he tries to live a regular life, but sometimes the thought of death runs through his mind.
"When I take those pills in the morning and when I take them at night and lay my head down on that pillow, I think about them. And it brings back the rush of emotions I just don't like to go through," he said.
All it takes is a vial of blood or a cheek swab to test for HIV/AIDS.
And that can happen year round, not just on this day.
"For those of us living with HIV or AIDS everyday is World AIDS day for us. You've got to get tested," he said.
To learn more about HIV/AIDS, where to get tested and resources available for infected people you can call the South Carolina AIDS hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS.