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Author Topic: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?  (Read 3037 times)

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Offline Suntropic98

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  • Posts: 146
How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« on: November 19, 2006, 07:55:21 PM »
Hi all! I'm finally back from my hiateus.  ;D

In order to get a different perspective from everyone on their experience with HIV I thought I would start this thread. I'm interested in knowing everyone's response. I think this could be inspirational to those having a hard time with being POZ or just anyone down in the low & low.

How has HIV/AIDS changed you? Has anything good come from something so bad? Have you, as an individual, grown as a person or has your character declined? I know this disease has definitely changed my life, perspective on life and what I want out of life.
Are you more caring towards others or are you full of resentment? Please share your experience with all of us, some people may need to hear your response to give them hope. I will start.


For me HIV has changed me in so many different ways. For starters the most important change, in my view, would have to be my sympathy for others and the willingness to help people. Prior to HIV I was not much of a caring person. I did what I wanted with little regard to other people's feelings. I know that sounds bad but I was consumed with my life and my goals that I never really stopped to care about other people's problems. If you ask me, my heart was good but based on actions I was a pretty shitty person. I attribute my actions to things that happened in my life which turned me into something I was ashamed of. My main concern was making money and hooking up with hot women. I was all about instant gratification, an impulsive individual. Looking back on it all I believe I was depressed, I felt like I had no purpose in life. I had no clue what I really wanted from life aside from material things. In short, I was not a man of good character. I was, and still am, a good friend to many but if I didnt know you you ment next to nothing to me and I could have cared less about you. I feel like if you would have cracked me open all you would have seen was an internal winter with an occasional sunny afternoon.

After finding out about being poz I did not initially change. I think I was more shocked and wondered what I was going to do to help manage this. It was not until months later did I really start to take a look at myself and the person I was. I cannot pinpoint the exact date but one day I changed inside. I began to "thaw" if you will. I really think seeing how people viewed men and women with HIV really disgusted me. I used to make jokes with my friends about catching HIV. Anytime anyone was sick we used to say it was HIV. Surprisingly I ended up having it. It was definitely no laughing matter. Today I joke about it and laugh with my girl because I really think you have to take this stuff with a sort of easiness or else you'll end up going crazy. Not to stray from the subject, I think the final draw for me was with the way doctors, politicians, people in general and christian evangelicals looked at those who were less fortunate. I was driving down the road one day and I asked myself, what do I really want from life? What am I doing to help people? How am I going to make a difference in this world? And what can I do to turn a bad situation into something that not only helps me but positively affects the lives of others? I was terrified at the thought of dying as the person I was....so much so I decided to change.

The first thing I could think of that would help others was to volunteer at homeless shelters or at a support group for HIVers. I began to listen to people in need. I also and still am entertaining the thought of becoming a big brother to an underprivi youth. I know some of these kids these days really need someone in their life that can have a positive impact on them. I was fortunate enough to have been raised by good parents. I figure the least I can do is help out a little brother type. However, I believe the most important change came out of disgust I had for the way I saw people with HIV being treated. Doctors who cancel appointments and never call patients, Nurses and Doctors who think people with HIV just want to be loaded up on drugs, and the overall dissatisfaction I had for the medical & pharmaceutical system in this country all played a part in my most recent decision. I was driving down the road and the thought of me becoming a doctor who specialized in HIV ghave me a sort of peace. It made me feel like I had a purpose. I never said anything to anyone initially. I sat on the idea and researched what would be the best route to go about making this idea a reality. I thought about whether or not I had the motivation needed to go through with that idea. I asked myself what it was I wanted to do, a private practice? Become a research scientist for a drug that could possibly cure? or did I want to just offer something a doctor who is not positive cannot offer....an inside perspective? Finally I said to myself if I was going to do this I wanted to go help people in countries with high infection rates such as Haiti, Jamaica, sub-saharan africa and south-east asia in addition to helping people in the US. With 2 BAs already I am proud to say I will be going back to school january to get another degree, one in health science or micro-biology. After that I plan on going to med school as soon as I take the MCAT. I've talked to 7 people about this....everyone thinks that I should do it and that I have the heart and motivation to make a difference. I figure that despite the situation over-seas being much different than HIVers in America, I have an idea of what they are going through. I want to help them. As of now I'm in the process of contacting different missions over-seas to find out what their requirements are for a medical background in order to practice. I believe the situation in as little as 8 years will much dire here in the states and there will be a huge need for HIV specialists but as long as I can I would like to help those in the severist poverty who are dealing with this disease.

And thats my story.

-Sunny

Offline Eldon

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Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2006, 08:27:09 PM »
Hey Sunny,

It has increased my willingness to help others and to encourage them.



Make the BEST of each Day!

Offline fearless

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  • Posts: 2,191
Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2006, 01:01:57 AM »
Surprisingly, HIV has enabled me to be grateful for all the circumstances in my life, forgiving of others and of myself, and to be optimistic.
Despite my HIV status, I'm fitter and healthier than I've ever been.
And, now I have a purpose in life - to live each day the best I can. I know I can't change the world, but I can effect the lives of those I am in contact with.

little Steve
ps Good luck with your studies, Sunny. Sounds like a great idea to me too.
Be forgiving, be grateful, be optimistic

Offline poet

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  • Posts: 934
  • Poet living and working in Central Maine
Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2006, 06:30:35 AM »
A good thread for Thanksgiving, thanks!  I would echo what you have said: purpose.  Or focus.  Bringing into focus and purpose who you are.  In my case, as a poet, it has meant (and still means) trying to make decisions which fly in the face of expectation.  I need quiet time to write, so I need to work less than I could to protect that quiet but in making this decision, I earn less than I could and so choose to not be able to do things or buy things.  But this is all relative.  I have a cottage on the Cape.  The lights are on, the heat is on, I have just had a great cup of coffee.  But you won't find me traveling in the Winter, won't find me eating out, going to the movies, at a bookstore.  I constantly make these decisions.  I am constantly tempted or frustrated.  Until the sketch book I write in opens and words come out from somewhere, after which I know that I have connected back to who I am: a poet.  Before hiv/AIDS, I would never have understood that you have to dedicate yourself to your art.  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Jerry71

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Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2006, 06:36:24 AM »
Living with Hiv/Aids going on two years for me I can finally say that it was a roller coaster ride from hell at first. Now today I can say that it is getting better, have found someone to spend my life with that is also HIV positive. Just remember to live everyday like it was the same as not having this dreadful disease.

Offline RapidRod

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  • Posts: 15,190
Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2006, 09:08:26 AM »
Living with HIV for 22 years, my life only changed drastically in the past year and a half. My sex life changed on the day of my diagnoses, but other than that, I worked every day for 21 years post. Wasn't on meds till 2005, financially ruined, but managing. Just thank God for every day that comes and goes. I always tell myself, there are always someone that is worse off than I am and I'm lucky to be here and have what I have.

Offline aztecan

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  • 28 years positive, 56 years a pain in the butt
Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2006, 10:16:03 AM »
It has made me appreciate my life even more. It has been more than 21 years since I was told the grim reaper was knocking on my door.

I haven't answered yet. For that, I am truly thankful and somewhat amazed.

It also has made me more assertive. I no longer accept things as I once did. I question, argue, fight back.

HUGS,

Mark
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline tryingforhope

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Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2006, 10:22:52 AM »
It makes me appreciate the times that my son sits on my lap. He calls me baby at the momment. Not sure why other than my fiance calls me baby alot.
It makes me re-evaluate my relationships with family members.
It makes me appreciate the sex life that I still have thanks to my fiance. For the first few weeks after diagnosis I felt like a walking black plague. Then my fiance made me see that I am still beautiful and desirable.
The best part...I have found lots of support on this forum from some amazing people. I would have never witnessed your strength, compassion and determination had I not tested positive.

Offline racingmind

  • Member
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Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2006, 10:45:19 AM »
It's hard to describe, but being fairly new to all of this (about 3 months knowing), I have to say that I have become more aware of peoples feelings and have begun dismissing all the bullshit that I used to thrive upon when I had nothing better to concern myself with.  My health has come center stage and the only other major concern for me is the health and well being of my partner (who is negative). My next move is to get my career moving in the right direction.  It's not the end of the world for me, I still have a lot to do before check out time.......

Dxx
Tested Negative: 5/06
Tested Positive: 9/06 
9/06: CD4: 442 (28%) VL: +100,000
10/06: CD4: 323 (25%) VL: 243,440
11/06: CD4: 405 (28%) VL: 124,324
12/06: CD4: 450 (29%) VL: 114,600
1/07: CD4: 440 (27%) VL: 75,286
3/07: CD4: 459 (30%) VL: 44,860
5/07: CD4: 353 (24%) VL: 50,852
7/07: CD4: 437 (29%) VL: 39,475
9/07: CD4: 237 (32%) VL: 372,774
10/07: CD4: 324 (27%) VL: 115,454 
Started Atripla: 10/07
11/07: CD4: 524 (?%) VL: Undetectable!
2/08: CD4: 653 (35%) VL: undetectable
5/08: CD4: 822 (40%) VL: undetectable
8/08: CD4: 626 (35%) VL: undetectable
12/08: CD4: 619 (36%) VL: undetectable
3/09: CD4: 802 (38%) VL: undetectable
7/09: CD4: 1027 (43%) VL: not tested
10/09: CD4: 1045 (43%) VL: undetectable

Offline allopathicholistic

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  • Posts: 3,258
Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2006, 10:53:19 AM »
My main concern was making money and hooking up with hot women. I was all about instant gratification, an impulsive individual.

Welcome back and thanks for sharing. Replace "women" above with "men" and that's pretty much my story too. I once considered myself a "rebel" (ha, whatta joke!) and pride almost killed me. I relate better to others now, I'm more balanced, less of a Jekyl and Hyde

Offline puertorico2006

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Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2006, 12:57:39 PM »
I only found out about 3 weeks ago, but it has changed my perspective on life dramatically. All of the sudden things that used to seem important when i had all the time in the world (MONEY, RECOGNITION, etc.) seem a lot less important compared to seeing the world, helping others, and enjoying EVERY day. I've always been a pretty healthy person in terms of working out, eating right (other than my 1.5 years as a meth head ...yuck :-S) but now i doubt ill stray from that because i see it becoming my new obsession.

I feel like im becoming a better person because it hit me across the head and i see the world from a different view. Obviously it is not a good thing that im positive but i am grateful that i can take this expierience to learn and grow as a person instead of letting it destroy me and warp my world. :-D

Infected Probably: may 2005
Diagnosed: 11/2006

11/28/2006 CD4:309 / VL: 1907 No meds yet
12/27/2006 CD4:339/  VL:1649 No meds yet
  4/28/2007 CD4:550/  VL:1800 No meds :-)

Offline o

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Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2006, 02:56:01 PM »
i also feel like a saint recently. ;-)

Offline chadnla

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  • Relaxed in SoCal
Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2006, 08:05:06 PM »
This is my first post on this site.  A little background: I found out I was poz on 9/12/02, one day and one year after 9/11. That week was depressing to say the least. In addition, it was one month after I had been laid off from my job, so not only depression hit me, but panic also  (thoughts about health insurance). One of the most interesting things I remember was when I went to an outplacement firm that my employer paid for as part of my severance. One of the exercises was to rate your personal values now, and then what they were 10 years ago.  The results were amazing:

10 years prior was ( there were 10 categories but just listing top 3):
#1 Wealth
#2 Power
#3 Leadership

Current (2002) was:
#1 Lifestyle (previously ranked 9)
#2 Challenge
#3 Independence

Finding out I was poz really woke me up to what is important in life.  I felt like someone had hit me with a big bat that had MORTALITY spelled out on it. I still cope with being poz today, but going to single and group therapy helped a lot in the beginning. However I've never gotten rid of being scared whether it is disclosing, dating, having sex, telling family, etc.  I'm not sure if this ever goes away.  Maybe some of you have thoughts or experiences.  Disclosure, as it relates to dating, to me is the hardest of this disease.

In some ways it has made be a stronger individual because you do have to be tough to get through the emotional rollercoaster. And it has also made me more sympathetic to other people when they are hurting.

Bottom line is I want so much out of life and we only have a limited time with which to do it. I guess that's the biggest way this disease has changed me.

Hopefully I didn't ramble on too much. :)
"I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing."

Offline Life

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  • Member 2005
Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2006, 08:51:27 PM »
I thought I knew what being HIV positive ment to me back 10 or so months ago.   Lately,  I am feeling I have no grasp of what it truly means for me or my partner...  Its a great question though.... 

Offline blondbeauty

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Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2006, 04:19:01 PM »
It has made me more generous and comprehensive, but at the same time a little bit more selfish: I do what I want most of the time and really spend my time with people I like and enjoy being with. I have also gained 2 kilos since starting meds and look even better. I am thinking of becoming a top model.
The only member in these forums approved by WINBA: World International Nail and Beauty Association.
Epstein Barr +; CMV +; Toxoplasmosis +; HIV-1 +.
Counts when starting treatment:
V.L.:80.200 copies. CD4: 25%=503
Started Sustiva-Truvada 14/August/2006
Last V.L.count (Oct 2013): Undetectable
Last CD4 count (OCT 2013): 52%= 933

Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2006, 10:41:16 PM »
It has made me more generous and comprehensive, but at the same time a little bit more selfish: I do what I want most of the time and really spend my time with people I like and enjoy being with. I have also gained 2 kilos since starting meds and look even better. I am thinking of becoming a top model.

wonderful! then we can say: "yeah he's on the cover of GQ but honey, we've known him for years" 

Offline Queen Tokelove

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  • Smokey the Smurf
Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2006, 11:13:21 PM »
Man, this virus has changed me for sure. I must say it is for the better. I look at life in a whole new way and I cherish each day as it could be my last. Despite this virus, tomorrow is promised to no man or something like that.
Started Atripla/Ziagen on 9/13/07.
10/31/07 CD4-265 VL- undetectable
2/6/08 CD4- 401 VL- undetectable
5/7/08 CD4- 705 VL- undetectable
6/4/08 CD4- 775 VL- undetectable
8/6/08 CD4- 805 VL- undetectable
11/13/08 CD4- 774 VL--undetectable
2/4/09  CD4- 484  VL- 18,000 (2 months off meds)
3/3/09---Starting Back on Meds---
4/27/09 CD4- 664 VL-- undetectable
6/17/09 CD4- 438 VL- 439
8/09 CD4- 404 VL- 1,600
01-22-10-- CD4- 525 VL- 59,000
Cherish the simple things life has to offer

The Royal Blog

Offline Bartro

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Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2006, 12:16:29 AM »
I'm afraid it's made me a bit more selfish.  In the past I worried about other peoples problems and tried to help emotionally, financially or whatever.  I've turned more inward now and have disconnected myself from some of my more "needy" friends.  I feel it's time to take care of myself now. 

I'm not as patient as I was before. 

I've lost most of my sense of humour.  I was always ready with a witty remark.  That's gone.  I rarely laugh anymore.  I'm not happy with myself or my situation.  Hopefully this will change with time.
Rusty

Offline poet

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  • Poet living and working in Central Maine
Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2006, 06:03:33 AM »
Rusty, there is, as I hope you know, lot's of positive things in the changes you have seen in yourself.  I wouldn't call it selfish to disconnect from 'needy' friends.  I bet you wouldn't disconnect from the actual needy.  And patience, if it applied to the 'needy,' I can appreciate that as well.  Like get a clue, ok? to them.  I do hope that your sense of humor returns, and your laughter and your happiness with yourself.  Best, Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline IzPoz

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  • God, grant me the serenity...
Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2006, 06:49:02 AM »
Living with HIV/AIDS has shown me what the true value of life is.  When we were diagnosed, my daughter was only 10 months old, and we were married only a year.  Getting through the rough patches was truly difficult, but it made us stronger people.

I know that each day must be cherished, and that you should ALWAYS make amends with your loved ones, and always, always tell them that you love them, no matter how pissed you are at them.  You don't know that you will have that opportunity tomorrow. 

I told my husband every day that I loved him, tried to make sure he knew it.  And before I knew it, dementia set in, over night it seemed, and although I could tell him till I was blue in the face, he was unresponsive.  But I felt in my heart that he knew.

Life with this disease is much clearer, and there is purpose.
The reason angels can fly is that they take themselves so lightly. ~ Chesterton G. K.

Offline AIDS2HIV

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    • www.aids2hiv.com
Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2006, 09:14:32 AM »
Hiv has chnaged me in many ways, the most notable being, that it made me inventory, and honestly address "self" Through that I have been able to hone some really good qualities. I dont take life for granted anymore, and i pay attention to everything that goes on around me.

It has inspired me, to not only build my own website, but it goes much deeper than that. Myself, and the people Ive met are gonna change how society responds to HIV. I have been openly and publicly disclosing my status 100%. I educate in my community, and abroad, about HIV. In feb. of 06 on valentines day, i done a 3 days news special on TV to raise awareness, etc. That broadcast alone, generated a 60% increase in people getting tested in my area. Just 2 days ago, I've been asked by my state agency to do this all over again, to be aired on World Aids Day.

The biggest change in me, is when it comes to HIV, i dont sit back and just complain about how things are, i get off my ass, and change it within my community. I'm not a survivor, I am an Overcomer. I dont have regrets, nor do i harbor resentments, no shame, no guilt, no fear, I have a level of acceptance most envy. I have learned, I must do what other's Fear doing, in order to make changes. I have embraced HIV from day one, and with me, day one, consisted of the start of a 3 month hospital bed stay. I was at death'd door when i was diagnosed, and have had to work backwards from that door, where most dont realise how lucky they are, and how well they have it, by catching it before the late stages. My worst days with my diagnosis, has been better, than any day before my diagnosis. I can say that honestly, as working on, fixing, adressing and accepting "self" has allowed me all this.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.....God Bless*
Its the future of Hiv Education, and Resources www.aids2hiv.com      Got Community?

Offline sdcabincrew74

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Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2006, 12:58:54 PM »
It has made me SLOW DOWN and appreciate the little things in life.  It allowed me have more focus on myself and those close to me that I love.  It made me appreciate each new day.  Aside from the almost dying of PCP it overall has changed me and I think that change has been for the better.
The difference between an overnight and a layover is luck!

Offline sesemoore

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Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2006, 09:25:31 PM »
Being that I have only been diagnosed a year now, Having this has made me more outgoing and I speak at different Churches and Educate anyone that want me to speak to their group my purpose is to start my own organization to help African Americans in my city.

Offline jntmax39

  • Member
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Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2006, 12:11:14 AM »
THAT IS A GREAT QUESTION SUN
WELL I HAVE DIABETES VERY BAD SO MY HIV STATUS SEEMED TO BE JUST ANOTHER NAIL IN MY COFFIN.I WAS ALREADY ON DISABILITY DUE TO INJURED BACK AND DIABETES.BUT STILL I HAVE TO ADMIT IT WAS A BLOW JUST THE SAME. AT FIRST I FELT SORRY FOR MYSELF I  JUST SCREAMED AT GOD AND CRIED AND ASKED HIM WHAT KIND OF SICK JOKE WAS HE TRYING TO PLAY ON ME,HOW MUCH MORE CAN ONE PERSON TAKE.THEN AS THE MONTHS CREPT BY VERY SLOWLY I STARTED TO THINK AND REFLECT AND ASK MYSELF NOW WHAT SHOULD WE DO.
I  THEN REALIZED THAT GOD DIDN'T DO THIS TO ME I DID I ,ME,WAS A HOSPICE NURSE WHO TOOK CARE OF THE TERMINALLY ILL MOST WERE AIDES PT.AND I WAS SO IGNORANT THAT I SAID THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO ME. I EMPATHIZED WITH MY PT.I LOVED EACH AND EVERYONE OF THEM AND I MOURNED FOR THE ONES THAT PASSED WITH ME HOLDING THEM TILL THERE LAST BREATH. THEN I GOT SICK WITH OTHER HEALTH ISSUES,AND HERE I WAS MAYBE 6,7,YEARS DOWN THE ROAD I GET THE DREADED NEWS I'M SORRY BUT YOU ARE HIV POS. I WAS JUST IN UTTER SHOCK COULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT I WAS HEARING.
I HAVE BEEN WITH MY HUSBAND NOW FOR 8 YEARS SO NOW I CAN KIND OF PINPOINT AROUND THE TIME IT HAPPENED BECAUSE MY HUSBAND IS NEG. WELL I HAD UNPROTECTED SEX BECAUSE I BELIEVED MY PARTNER AT THE TIME WHEN I ASKED HIM IF HE WAS CLEAN. I STAYED ANGRY AT MYSELF FOR A LONG TIME. JUST CRAZY CRAZY THINKING.BUT I MADE IT THRU AND TODAY I TELL ANYBODY WHO WILL LISTEN ABOUT MY STORY.
SINCE BECOMING SICK I APPRECIATE EVERYDAY I HAVE WITH MY FAMILY AND IT HAS CHANGED MY FAMILIES WAY OF THINKING AND MY FRIENDS ALSO. THEY SEE ME AND THEY KNOW NOW AS DO I HOW PRECIOUS LIFE IS AND TO LIVE IT AS IF IT WERE YOUR LAST.

Offline NightmareHall

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Re: How has HIV/AIDS changed you?
« Reply #24 on: November 25, 2006, 11:21:25 PM »
*
« Last Edit: December 14, 2006, 11:09:51 AM by NightmareHall »

 


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