"I donít know what itís like to live without HIV. It gives you a different perspective on the value of life."
A student at Valparaiso University, Nile Sandeen grew up in the Milwaukee area. He has had HIV disease his entire life.
Sandeen learned about the stigma of HIV early in life. On his first day of kindergarten, the parents of his classmates feared his disease and wanted him removed from school.
He has courageously endured the heartache of HIV. His father died of AIDS when he was in 2nd grade. Throughout his life, he has witnessed his mother fight the same disease.
One childhood joy for Sandeen was Camp Heartland. It was a place where he could forget about his disease and have the best time of his life. It is where he found his will to overcome HIV and help other kids do the same.
As a camp counselor, Sandeen loves giving back to Camp Heartland for the confidence and joy that he received from it.
A special part of Nileís life is his mother, Dawn Wolff, who has also been living with HIV for more than two decades.
"She really studies HIV and knows a lot about it. When Iím sick she always understands."
Nile Sandeen is continuing his studies at Valparaiso University, majoring in theology.
Photos and Text courtesy AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, copyright 2005.
Last updated: 11-May-2005.