For his entire life, Andrew Pulsipher kept a secret from everyone beyond his closest relatives.

That all changed when Pulsipher, now 33, decided to share the fact he is HIV positive, and his wife and three children are not.

In a Facebook post, Pulsipher and his family members are pictured sitting on a couch at home in Queens Creek, Arizona, each clutching a sign.

His sign reads HIV+, while the signs his wife Victoria and their three children are holding all read HIV-.

Pulsipher says he intended the post as a way of telling his friends and family that he is HIV positive, while also showing them that it’s possible to have the virus and a healthy family.

But the picture was shared more than 13,000 times, reaching beyond his close friends and family.

And it has since inspired others to share their own experiences of living with HIV and AIDS.

One person wrote on his Facebook page about her family's experience growing up with a father who died from the virus.

"Somehow parents at my elementary school found out [my father had HIV]," the post reads, "parents were telling their children to stay away from me." The woman said she and her siblings are all HIV negative, but there wasn’t the awareness about the virus like there is today.

In an interview with, Pulsipher said some of the stories have brought him to tears, and made him wish he'd opened up about the virus sooner.

Pulsipher was born with HIV, and lost his parents to AIDS as a child. He grew up living with his aunt and uncle, who told him he was HIV positive when he was in Grade 5.

He kept it secret, making up stories to hide the truth.

"It's one of those lies that you tell," Pulsipher said. "I grew up lying."

When Pulsipher got married and wanted to become a father, he and his wife Victoria thought the only way they could have healthy kids was by resorting to "sperm washing," an expensive process in which individual sperm are separated from the seminal fluid that carries the virus.

The process was expensive, and offered no guarantees Victoria would get pregnant, but the couple pressed on.

Pulsipher and his wife spent their life savings in three attempts, and eventually succeeded in having a daughter, now five, through artificial insemination.

When they wanted more children, but couldn’t afford to go the same route again, Pulsipher did some research and discovered that if he takes medication and the HIV is undetectable in his semen, then they might be able to have children the old-fashioned way.

And that's just what the proud parents of three children did, with the support of Pulsipher's doctor.

This is what many people - including those with HIV - don’t realize, Director of HIV Research at the University of Toronto Kelly MacDonald told

 "Just like we used to be afraid of cancer, we're afraid of HIV, but we don’t need to be," MacDonald said, explaining that for people with HIV who are otherwise healthy, taking medication and show no traces of the virus in their blood, the risk of transmission is negligible.

Any person with HIV who wants to have children should see their doctor, as the risk is decided on a case-by-case basis, MacDonald says, suggesting they can also seek more guidance from someone at the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange.

But the stigma still persists, she said.

"People think not with their brain, but with their gut."

That’s why Pulsipher is pleased his Facebook post has been shared so widely, and he hopes it will inspire other people hiding their HIV status to share their secret.

"This is a new generation of people surviving the virus," Pulsipher said. "You can have a family. You can have a normal life."