Well I'm still here
I sober and clean in 1982 and promptly moved to San Jose. Some of my friends started getting sick around this time but I didn't think it would bother me. In 1985 when they came out with the test for the virus I took it and it was positive. As a matter of fact the clinic I went to I turned out to be the first person that had been tested positive. I knew it was a death sentence but I still told everyone that I knew that I had tested positive so they could brace themselves.
An early HIV clinic
About 5 years after that I still hadn't developed symptoms and I was in an early HIV Clinic who really thought that I was testing positive to something other than HIV. I met a man in 1987 and we were both HIV positive and figured this would be our last chance so we fell in love and we were together for 20 years. 10 years after I tested positive my T cells went from over a thousand to under a hundred in 9 months. It was like a bowling ball falling off the Empire State Building. My lover and I decided to move to the panhandle of Florida because my family lived there and I thought he could use their help while I died.
Trying many medications
I started going to a clinic that they had just opened and they had a doctor who really thought outside the box. She thought it was stupid for to wait until I got pneumocystis or bacterial pneumonia or fungal meningitis or whatever to treat it. She thought she would go ahead and give me those drugs prophylactically and if I developed super pneumonia or super fungus or whatever she deal with it.
So what do you know I didn't get those things! And Along Came drug after drug after drug and I took every single one of them. I got horrible side effects but I figured it was par for the course.
Aging, neuropathy, and finding a pain doctor
I am now 67 years old and the only lingering memory of my HIV story is horrible peripheral neuropathy in both my feet. It was caused by d4t and it has never let up. But I finally found a pain doctor who prescribed methadone and it is 95% effective. Unfortunately my lover and I broke up right at the 20-year mark but I don't regret anything that I did and I am so appreciative for the extra that whoever is in charge gave to me.
Stay strong and take your pills!
I wish I had not had HIV but I didn't even know how it was transmitted when I got it but it doesn't matter. Try not to get it if you are already negative but if you happen to slip up and become positive it is not a death sentence. God bless you all and stay strong and take your pills for god sakes!
Have you ever been unhoused or insecurely housed?