Advances in medicine over the past three decades mean people like Shipley who are HIV-positive can control the virus until it's nearly undetectable, and live a near-normal lifespan.
He said he still meets people who are astonished that the Tri-State area is home to people with HIV.
"Or I can't date the way I want to because of this disease." Shipley is naturally candid about living with illness, telling the story of helping a pastor prepare two to three funerals a week during the height of the AIDS crisis in the same conversation he chats about adopting his five cats.
Stomach and back problems, not improved by the HIV that damages his immune system, mean he deals with chronic pain.
AIDS Resource Group, based in the Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse on NW Fourth Street in Evansville, connects HIV-positive people in 11 Indiana counties with resources like financial aid to pay for medicine.