HIV-positive man works to turn his life around

Cory Cardinal, an inner city resident and intravenous drug user who tested positive six months ago told CBC News how he thinks he got infected.
Cory Cardinal is one the many Saskatchewan people living with HIV and AIDS. (CBC)

Every year, dozens of people in Saskatchewan learn they've contracted HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

One of them was Cory Cardinal, an inner city resident and intravenous drug user who tested positive six months ago. He recently told CBC News how he thinks it happened.

"I was getting quite sloppy within my usage because the coke was kinda getting to me," he said. "It depletes your capacity, your thinking. So yeah I was becoming sloppy and I used a dirty rig, and it had blood in it."

Cardinal believes it was a dirty needle that led to his infection, but he's not sure. It might also have been unprotected sex, or blood spilled in street fights.

Taking the Pulse looks at HIV

The Taking the Pulse survey found, to a certain extent, a lack of serious concern about HIV and AIDS in Saskatchewan.

More than 60 per cent of the people surveyed don't believe HIV is a serious problem in their communities.

Taking The Pulse reflects the views and opinions of 1,750 people in Saskatchewan. The University of Saskatchewan's Social Sciences Research Lab conducted the telephone interviews of randomly selected adults March 5-19.

With a sample size of 1,750, the poll is considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.34 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

When he first got the news, Cory reacted badly.

"I just started being reckless, not caring, you know ... just using needles and not even caring about people," he said.

Since then, Cory found the 601, also known as AIDS Saskatoon.

He says the staff there showed him how to live with HIV.

They also encouraged him to take up writing again, something he learned in his last stint in jail.

Today, Cory is trying to eat every day and take his medication to keep the HIV from progressing.

He's said he's sharing his story because he wants people to know that no matter how far you've fallen, you can get back up.

"I got a big future now. Out there I was dying," he said. "I was wasting away on the streets and stuff. I was sticking needles in my arms ... Now I'm living and I got a future."