HIV Holiday: Gratitude and Love

The holidays are a time of gratitude and giving. I truly believe that it is better to give than to receive, and the heart feels better in doing so. As each of us looks around us there is something to be personally grateful for; myself included.

Gratitude during the holidays

One of the best and impactful ways of giving of yourself, and it can be argued, the best way to give to others with personal gratitude and love, is giving witness to others through your life and personal experiences.

I am grateful that after 17 years of living with HIV that I am still here, and blessed in partaking in today's treatment of this chronic condition; and that I haven't developed AIDS; this is witnessing to others.

Aging with HIV

Each person's immune systems vary in strength and capability depending on various factors, prior to an HIV diagnosis and it's response to the virus after infection. Aging with HIV, I hadn't expected to be living with three comorbidities aside from having HIV; along with the experiencing of chronic fatigue, (that also comes living with HIV for anyone in general) pain and the varied physical disabilities, that comes with having two of the three of these comorbidities. I am 45 years old.

Yet, I am grateful, strong and at peace with my life, because I am still here making the most of every moment; finding and doing the good in every moment; happy and content because life is good. Life is a gift to be enjoyed and cherished. This is giving witness to others.

Sharing your journey

Being open and sharing your journey living with HIV whether in personal interaction or online, so the whole world may listen, is giving witness to others. By sharing your journey living with HIV with the world, you impact every other person living with this chronic condition, on every continent. This is giving witness to others.

There are individuals everywhere who needlessly feel guilt and shame for their diagnosis; suffering through regret; the anxiety of telling their loved one's; the fear of death; the acceptance that they will always be HIV-positive; and that they will have to overcome the challenges of learning to cope with their positive status. This is giving witness to others.

During this holiday season, let us have great tidings and cheer in witnessing to what this season is all about; love and gratitude.

Written by James Cotromanes

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