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Gina Brown was pregnant and single when she was diagnosed with HIV in 1994. “I thought I was going to die,” she says. She promptly quit her job at a nursing home out of fear she’d infect her elderly patients.

More than 20 years later, Brown, now 51, is working as a social worker in New Orleans. The discovery of antiretroviral treatments turned her HIV diagnosis from a death sentence into a chronic illness, and Brown now worries more about her heartburn than the virus. But getting health care has been a constant struggle. She’s gone through periods of having no insurance and periods of expensive health coverage, where she had to choose between food, gas, or paying for her premiums.

With the arrival of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, those worries melted away.

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Image: via Flickr – AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by Nina Matthews Photography

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