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Four Things You Need to Know About Paige Rawl

Four Things You Need to Know About Paige Rawl


She grew up with HIV, became a fiery activist, and has now authored a great memoir about it all. What can't this college student do?


Buzz_positive_bookcover1. She’s written a great book. With the help of Ali Benjamin (and a kick-ass intro from author Jay Asher), 19-year-old Rawl penned a memoir, Positive (Harper Collins), about learning in middle school that she had HIV, what happened when other kids found out, and her life since. 

2. She turned adversity to activism. Two weeks after telling a friend she was HIV-positive, bullies (many former friends) at her middle school began calling her “PAIDS” and harassing her because of her status. Administrators and teachers were no help, and her soccer coach told her it’d be an advantage because opposing teams wouldn’t want to touch her. After briefly dropping out of school in eighth grade battling stress-induced seizures and suicidal thoughts, she persevered, transferring schools, and coming out as poz in front of an auditorium of her peers.

3. She took it to court and the airwaves, too. Rawl could have just slinked off from that Indiana middle school, harassed, shamed, and closeted. But instead she filed a lawsuit against the school for not stopping the harassment. She became the youngest Red Cross volunteer to speak about HIV and AIDS, as well as Miss Indiana Teen Essence and Miss Indiana High School America, and she’s spoken out in media including People, Seventeen, Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, and Huffington Post.

4. She’s not stopping there. Rawl is currently a student at Ball State University, studying molecular biology, and hopes to become an HIV researcher after graduation. You can find out more about her and Positive at

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