HIV: My Journey
I am a 56-year-old gay man. I contracted HIV in 1984. I did not understand the difference between sex and love. Basically, I was very promiscuous, young, and naive. Back in those days, no one had sex with condoms. HIV had not yet been isolated or named. I had an acute seroconversion in 1986. Many of my sexual partners were getting very sick and dying within two months. I was terrified of getting tested and refused.
HIV/AIDS treatment in 1990
I was finally diagnosed in 1990. AZT treatment was a nightmare. The nausea was overwhelming. My first great love already had an AIDS diagnosis. I was his caregiver until his death two years later. I was diagnosed with AIDS in 1997. I had Pneumocystis Pneumonia for several months, Thrush, and rapid weight loss.
A 10 year journey
I was taken to the county hospital ER, given 18-24 hours to turn the corner with medication, or my family would be notified of my imminent death. The medication worked. I had 16 t-cells and a sky-high viral load. Medication, great care, and the love and support of my partner, family, and friends gave me a new purpose to return to good health. It took over 10 years to accomplish this goal.
Today, I am celebrating 25 years on borrowed time. My viral load has been undetectable for at least a decade.
Proud to be a long-term survivor
Daily HIV medication, a positive attitude, and living my life with purpose and the love of my partner, friends, and family sustain me. I am proud to be a long-term survivor of my illness. I control my virus. It does not control me.
I am very grateful for my life!
I hope this helps someone.
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