21 Years of Knowledge that I am HIV+
Today is the 21st anniversary of having learned my HIV status in 1985. It was a different time then, but stigma, fear and ignorance still surround HIV/AIDS. I am trying to help change that by talking openly and honestly about my situation and by encouraging others to do so as well.
In June of this year, I founded the International Carnival of Pozitivities (ICP) to help bring HIV/AIDS back into the forefront of discussion. This forum is a place to learn the truth about HIV/AIDS, its prevention, treatment and direction.
Since the advent of the "cocktail", mainstream media and pharmaceutical marketing campaigns would have us believe that you can just take a pill or two and all will be well with you if you are HIV+. They do not talk about the estimate that it costs somewhere around $20K-$25K/year to keep an HIV+ person alive or that these pills can fail you if your virus mutates. They also do not stress that HIV treatment is, in effect, daily, never-ending chemotherapy. You may not lose your hair, but the side effects to these medications are intense and sometimes fatal in and of themselves, including kidney, liver and hormonal dysfunction. They do not tell us that the diseases that our parents would suffer from in their old age (diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, etc.) will quite possibly onset in us in our middle age. They will not discuss sex education, sexuality, prevention, or condom use, favoring instead a naive approach that advocates abstinence and fidelity.
There are estimates of about 40 million people infected with HIV/AIDS throughout the world. Some view HIV infection as a punishment, but I see it as a possibility. Please know your status, and please protect the ones you love. The fastest growing demographic group is that of heterosexual women of color between the ages of 25 and 44 years, but HIV/AIDS can happen to anyone.
I am lucky to be alive after 21 years. I would wish you enough good fortune not to have to live the life I have experienced.
Categories: HIV AIDS HIV/AIDS prevention treatment International+Carnival+of+Pozitivities+(ICP) ICP