The biomedical model serves as a grand narrative shaping the dominant discourse on health and illness. The goal of this study is to understand how lay people living with HIV understand meanings of health and how the biomedical narrative enters their subjective interpretations. Findings were derived from in-depth interviews with HIV+ people in India, who had access to modern medicine. While deviations from the biomedical model were found, for the most part, participants reinforced dominant understandings; they were preoccupied with controlling risk, yet struggled to make sense of contradictions between scientific fact and personal experience. The anthropological concept of the "work of culture" is used to understand the loss of alternative cultural frames and the implications of this loss.