Hiroto Okui's HIV diagnosis took him completely by surprise.

"I never thought it could happen to me. I didn't know what to do," he says. The Tokyo native said it marked the beginning of an extremely difficult period.

Now 52, Okui recalls how shocking it was to find out, in the summer of 2016, that he had tested positive. He did not know much about HIV, having only a vague impression it was a "scary disease."