Despite the global figures on male HIV infection rates, and the vulnerability of men to HIV as a result of social constructions of masculinity, not enough attention has been paid to the seriousness of the problem of HIV in heterosexual men. Most research has concentrated on either homosexual or bisexual men, neglecting the experiences of heterosexual men diagnosed as HIV positive, and the implications thereof. This study aims to explore the lived experiences (emotional, cognitive and social) of black heterosexual males who are living with HIV. The focus of this study was thus on the subjective experiences and circumstances of these men, to enhance understanding of how they managed to adapt to the stress of being HIV positive. Health professionals, such as nurses, psychologists and doctors at Tshwane District Hospital, can use the results of the study to assist men when they are diagnosed, and to help them cope effectively with their subsequent challenges. The study used the phenomenological theoretical framework. It explored the lived experiences of being HIV positive through in-depth, semi-structured interviews, which were audio-recorded and transcribed . Non-probability sampling was used to identify the 5 participants in this study. Data was analysed in terms of thematic analysis and 15 themes were derived from the analysis and described using quotations from the raw data. These themes were then contextualised and explored with relevant literature. The research found that these men initially struggled to adapt to their HIV-positive status and exhibited denial, fear and loss, complicated by the sense that their masculinity was compromised. While there was some evidence of limited internal and external stigma, the men were able to find support from partners, family and friends, and were able to rise to the challenge of 'living positively'.