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Long Term Survivor/Newbie??

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I am unsure if I would be considered a Long Term Survivor -or- not. I am probably more of a coward than a survivor.  I spent the last few years hiding and not fighting.

I tested hiv postive in 1990, when I was 19 after my first experience with another male.  Since then I felt like damaged goods and was just waiting for it all to end.

I have never taken any medicine.  I dont have a doctor. Dont know my CD4 or viral load.  I wish I had found this site alot sooner. Forgive my ignorance, but to see an entire community of people like me is uplifitng.  I have been in a state of  extreme dispression the last 17 years.

Each year another birthday would pass and I would wonder why am I still here?? Was I some sort of freakshow to still be alive?? I lived a private HELL wondering when it was going to happen or how it was going to happen.

I have become a loner and distance myself from family/friends.  I moved to Atlanta to disappear from everyone.   I work alot of hours to stay busy and come up with excuses when co-workers want to hang out. I have recently become an independant contractor and I am even more alone.

I didnt want to be burden to anyone and thought if I died alone no one would miss me. I always prayed for a quick death and nothing prolonged.

Anyways, after reading the stories of so many people on this forum, I am starting to develop a different outlook.

Now, I wonder if it is too late.  After 17 years of not taking any medicine, I  probably have an extremely damaged immune system.  I dont know where to even start.  I became an independant contractor 2 years ago.  I dont have insurance because I didnt think an insurance company would accept someone who has had this pre-existing condition for so long.  Unsure of the true cost of medicine but I maybe financially able to handle some of the costs. Again, forgive my ignorance if the costs are extreme.  Just dont know what else I could do to obtain meds.

Sorry for the long post.  This is only the tip of everything I have kept bottled up inside for so many years.

I am sorry that the connection we share is this disease.  I am thankful to have found this community online.  The last 2 days on this site has changed my outlook about myself and my life. Thank you, all.

Miss Philicia:
It's never too late dear friend.  You'll not ever know how or even if your immune system is "damaged" unless you high tail it to a good HIV specialist, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so.

The insurance and medication costs could be tricky after going uninsured so long, though you don't give a clue how much your income is.  If it's below a certain level you would qualify for assistance from ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program).  Perhaps a good place to start is for you to register with a local ASO (AIDS Service Organization) so someone experienced in the particulars of Atlanta can assist you.  I know we have some board members from that area so hopefully someone can give you some information on where to go.  Maybe they'll have a local low cost clinic that you could go to for HIV care until you get a regular one sorted out.

Welcome to the board and good luck.

Hey Aries,

Welcome to the forums. Philly has offered some sage advice regarding the ASO in Atlanta. that would be a good first step toward taking control of your life.

I say take control of your life, because I, like you, ignored the entire subject for quite a few years. A friend gave me a swift kick in the butt and got me started, thank goodness. Now I know knowledge is power and just ignoring it could very well lead to a very bad situation.

I would also peruse the lessons here. If you have questions about care, numbers, etc., they can be a great beginning.

Finding a good doctor is also important. The local ASO should be able to help you, even if you aren't eligible for enrollment because of your income.

There are quite a few people here who have been positive more than 20 years, including me, so never count yourself out just because its been a few years since you tested positive.

Anyway, welcome. I'm glad you're here and I hope to read more from you.



Welcome to the family...we were all newbie's at one time or survivor's...keep coming back.


--- Quote from: aries321 on June 17, 2007, 03:18:45 PM --- The last 2 days on this site has changed my outlook about myself and my life. Thank you, all.

--- End quote ---

I'm glad to hear it.  17 years in depression mode is a long time, especially being so young.  Well it's never too late to start over, so let us help you as much as we can.  You'll have to do most of the hard work yourself, but we're here to help.  You can count on that.

Now you mentioned you were in Atlanta.  According to this WEB PAGE to qualify for ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program) you cannot earn more than 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) ($9,800 annually for a household of one.  This translates to approximately $29,400/year.  As in independent contractor, you're probably earning more than that, uh?  But I doubt if you'll find any insurance company to cover you, or if you do, you wont be able to afford it. HIV drugs average, at a minimum, $2,000/mo.  As you see, it's a pretty good chunk of change. 

So what Phlly and Mark have told you is right on.  Perhaps there are other financial aid programs in Atlanta that can help you. Or maybe there is a clinic that will draw your blood and give you the results at a low cost.  Talk to your ASO (AIDS Service Organization) and see what is available for you. As you talk to them, don't feel the need to tell them everything.  AS Philly said, we have some very knowledgable members here from Atlanta.  Maybe they'll read this and can help you.

In the meantime, well, at least you've opened up to us.  That's a start.




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