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Author Topic: HIV talk I did at my new job last year  (Read 3280 times)

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Offline appleboy

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HIV talk I did at my new job last year
« on: August 10, 2006, 02:10:22 PM »
So I have decided from the beginning to be very forward and open about having HIV.  I took a new job with a boarding high school as their Technology Coordinator September of 2005.  We have a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) group here and for world AIDS day 2005 I did a chapel talk about HIV.  I am going to post it for anyone to read.  I am so proud to work where I work and I am so supported and not looked at as a person with HIV but as Bill.  This was the first time where I cringed at hearing myself say outloud I have HIV.  It was a surreal moment in my life but it really helped me accept it.  I removed my last name and the school for safety reasons.
I am Bill I am your Technology Coordinator here at (name left out). Since World AIDS Day falls in December I am going to talk about HIV and AIDS. First, I want to discuss the difference between HIV and AIDS.  HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV attacks the immune system cells called CD4 (which is a type of T-Cell that HIV primarily attacks) and eventually leads to total destruction of the immune system which then leads to AIDS.   AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.  The government divides HIV into 3 categories.  Stage one is Asymptomatic meaning you have a CD4 count of greater than or equal to 500 with no symptoms.  A person without HIV will have a CD4 count between 500 and 1500.  Stage 2 is ARC or AIDS Related Complex.  What this means is you have a CD4 count between 200 and 499 and are seeing some signs and symptoms such as thrush and long list of others.  The Government says the immune system is showing damage but nothing life threatening during this stage.  Stage 3 is AIDS, which means you have a CD4 count of less than 200, and you have one or more of a list of illnesses that are signs of a very weak immune system. During this time you will have to take medication to keep you from getting PCP a rare type of pneumonia.   That explains the difference between AIDS and HIV.  The Second thing we are going to talk about is some statistics of HIV and AIDS here in the US.  At the end of 2004, the CDC estimates that 415,193 people were living with AIDS.  35% were white 43% were black 20% were Hispanic and 1% were of other race/ethnicity. An Estimated 3,927 Children were living with AIDS at the end of 2004.  HIV statistics are staggering numbers estimated between one million thirty nine thousand and one million one hundred eighty five thousand people living with HIV.  As you can see by the numbers this is still a problem of major proportions.  Now that you know about HIV, AIDS, and the numbers here in the United States, you are thinking well how can I keep from getting it.  That is the easy part of huge problem.  First of all abstaining from sex is the best form of protection but we know being human, hormones can get in the way of clear thoughts and the next best thing is a condom.  To clear up ideas of being around people with HIV/AIDS you cannot get it by living or working with someone that has it, using the same bathroom, touching someone, kissing, eating off the same plate, using the same utensils, and drinking from the same glass or container.  HIV/AIDS is specifically transmitted through body fluids like blood and semen.  Now that you have the full run down on HIV and AIDS such as what it means, the numbers of people it effects and how you can and cannot get it.  I want to share with you about myself.  I am 27 years old and February of this year I found out I not only have HIV I have AIDS. Talk about the shock of my life.  I never thought I could get it.  I go to church, I don’t take drugs, I have never been in trouble with the law, how could I have this?  My life this year has been rough.  I decided to make a job change that was a lot less stressful than working in a call center listening to people complain why if they ran over there computer Apple was not paying for the repair.  For once I had to look at life and say “Bill you are in charge now” life is to short to let it fall by the wayside.  God has given us all talents and we must use them everyday. Most people that know I have AIDS say you handle it really well.  Part of why I handle it so well is that I know God loves me and nothing I can do will ever get in the way of God loving me.  That helps so much knowing that even if I am alone God is always right there saying “Bill I love you and you’re a unique child of mine”.  My mom has always told me life is not always going to be easy and when I was the age of most of you I did not understand that.  Today I do understand it more than anything. A question I get asked the most is “are you mad at the person that gave it to you?” and I get to answer with an honest NO.  I made the bad choice I have to live the rest of my life taking the meds, and going to the Dr to stay alive.  I cannot blame anyone but myself.  We have to learn when we make a bad decision we have to accept the responsibility of the reaction.  No one twisted my arm I made the decision.  Guess what?  God still loves me!  Also we have to live each day to the fullest, as you never know when that final day will be.  My mom always told me that and to give my 100% everyday as it pleases God.   Another thing that helps me deal with having AIDS is I treat it like Diabetes.  I have to take care of myself go to the Dr. and keep making sure my immune system is ok because this beast is not going away it is now a part of me and I am trying to make it as much of a transparent problem as possible.  When you find out you have HIV or AIDS you will learn that knowledge is your best friend. I am scared of the side effects the medications can cause but then I am reminded I could be worse off.  To help me swallow my pills I thank God for making people smart enough to understand this disease to make pills that allow me to wake up in the mornings and be a normal person.  I have a favorite saying of mine and it goes if you are walking down the road and your pants fall down to your ankles you bend over pick them up and keep walking.  Who cares if anyone saw you or if they said anything life is like that. By keeping God first and not worrying about what people think or say about you. God will always love you no matter what even if you have AIDS or any other illnesses or disorders, as we are all children of God.  Remember, life will not always be easy but if you keep your chin up and focus on God you will always be fine.  Thank you and now I will be glad to answer any questions that you may have.
If you are walking down the street and your pants drop to your ankles bend over pick them up and keep on walking!
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