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Author Topic: Here is Zephyr's second interview installment....  (Read 3043 times)

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Offline Moffie65

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  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Here is Zephyr's second interview installment....
« on: August 11, 2006, 11:08:53 AM »
As Zephyr's helper/coach, I offered to place this here, as she is somewhat computer challenged.  I think you will be impressed.

Information Hunt Complex for Those Affected by HIV/AIDS

Editor’s note:  This is part two in a three-part series exploring the lives of El Dorado County women living with HVI and AIDS.

   Some 15 years ago, Loreen Willenberg, now 52, got a diagnosis as being HIV positive.  That was all she got.
   I never even got a brochure, “getting the information was very difficult”, the Diamond Springs resident said in a Mountain Democrat interview that marked the first entrance into the public arena as an HIV positive woman.
   The diagnosis’ social and emotional implications were paired with an initial sense of being “left high and dry” as it pertained to the availability of educational materials, regarding her condition, Willenberg said.
   Her first stem in the information-getting process, came in the form of a phone call to the San Francisco-based Project Inform, a national non-profit organization that focuses on HIV/AIDS advocacy and education.
   Years later, Willenberg finds timely dialogue literally at her fingertips.
   She is an avid participant in AIDSmeds.com, an interactive website founded and operated by people with HIV.  Postings to the site have ut her in touch with individuals from across the nation, some of whom she has met in person.
   The Internet’s expanding nature has made way for the creation of a deluge of health information with HIV and AIDS being no exception.
   A popular internet search engine recently yielded 489 million “hits” on a search term of AIDS.  Some 234 million Websites offer information on HIV tghat search revealed.
   Viewed in isolation, those numbers – a stark departure from the absence of information Willenberg initially saw – suggests an affected individual living in a rural area like El Dorado County could navigate life relying solely on anonymous point and click support.
   But Willenberg maintains her online interaction are supplement to, rather than substitute for, public disclosure.
   Those interactions reaffirmed her confidence in disclosing her condition to the Mountain Democrat, Willenberg said.
   Heightened technological connectivity – complete with its growing array of educational materials – doesn’t promise to ease every community’s reaction to a voice who offline may be greeted openly.
   For Willenberg, technology has served as an impetus to face that public reaction.  Others, meanwhile, still hope an anonymous, bare-boned support system will be sufficient.
   If not, they face a threat not confined to the virtual world – that of signing off.
                                                                     A Lost Sense of Belonging

   When last interviewed by the Democrat, W.B. was contemplating pursuing support online.  The Placerville woman with AIDS asked to be anonymous due to the retaliation she believes her child could face from a local school system.
   Like the two other women interviewed in this three-part series, W.B. contracted the infection sexually.
   Now she spends her time attending to the deteriorating health of her husband, who has AIDS.
   Speaking to the Democrat on a recent afternoon, W.B. appeared healthy – she is labeled as having HIDS because her T4 cell count (those that signal other immune system cells to fight an infection in the body) once fell to the point where whe was susceptible to contracting AIDS-related diseases.
   It rebounded since then, W.B. said, but she is still classified as having AIDS.
   While her health is substantially better than that of her husbands, the Placerville resident nonetheless, struggles daily in dealing with a lifestyle she says stands in clear opposition to the aspiration she envisioned as a child.
   “I felt failure because I’m not the breadwinner anymore and there’s nothing I can do about it”, said W.B., 49, who previously worked in customer service.
   As W. B. suggests, the infection has potential to challenge convention, particularly in regards to women’s traditional gender roles.
   Affected women not in a marital relationship are faced with moral, physical and social dilemmas in deciding whether to pursue romantic relationships.
   Depression – and the accompanying desire for human sanctuary and support – is coupled with the discomfort of telling a prospective partner of your condition, as well as fears of rejection and “burdening” a mate with your medical care.
Also, people with HIV are often “too overwhelmed” with understanding the complexities of their medical issues to pursuer life’s other outlets, Willenberg said.

                                                             “Almost Every Day”

   Asked how often she experiences bouts of what she would characterize as "severe depression," HIV-positive M.V., an El Dorado County resident, answered quickly.
   "Lately? Almost every day," she said.
   The 50-year-old woman, who works for a large local employer, requested her real name not be used in this series because she believed it would jeopardize her employment,
   M.V. maintains her infection played a role in a past termination from an out-of-state job in which she worked with children.
   Combined, the experiences haw mulled in an erosion of trust and a reluctance to pursue physical relationships with men who are not HIV positive.  "(HIV) took my dignity away," M.V. said succinctly,
   She was infected about 10 years ago in another state after leaving a five-year abusive marriage here. M.V. said the partner by whom she was infected knew of his condition and didn't tell her.
   That is a felony punishable by California law, which prohibits knowingly infecting or exposing someone to HIV without his or her knowledge.
   Recently, in a 4-3 decision, the California Supreme Court, on Jury 3 extended liability for negligent transmission of HIV to persons who "have reason to know" they might be infected with the virus and required disclosure of a portion of that person's, sexual history.
   The move, perceived by some as a landmark in a state that has stood at the forefront of national HIV/AIDS debates, marks judicial intervention in the trust-based dilemmas initially confined to partner-partner interactions.
                                      "Overwhelming" red tape

   While at times a very personalized, individual experience, the issue is also complex politically, with ongoing questions regarding the adequacy and direction of funding.
   "Historically, AIDS money has come from the feds." said Chuck Newport, community health education coordinator for the El Dorado County Public Health Department.
   Once federal funding is allocated to states, and then counties, planning councils often oversee its dispersal.
   The major local AIDS-support entity, the nonprofit Sierra Foothill AIDS Foundation, acts as a subcontractor for services provided in El Dorado, Placer, Nevada and Alpine counties.
   The 18-year-old foundation — which has offices in Grass Valley, Placerville, South Lake Tahoe and Auburn — offers free services to local individuals and families affected by HIV and AIDS.
   Chief among those services is case     management,     which Willenberg describes as an "integral starting point" in confronting life with HIV/AIDS.
   Under a case manager's assistance, an individual will work to obtain the services he or she needs — almost always ending up at CARES, a Sacramento-based nonprofit provider of mental, physical and social services for HIV/AIDS patients.
   It is the second largest provider of HIV/AIDS services in Northern California, including the San Francisco Bay Area, according to the nonprofit’s Website.
   The caveat? The free services offered by the Sierra Foothill AIDS Foundation are funds of "last resort," meaning that eligible individuals must have exhausted all other community resources, according to Dr. Kathy Acquistapace, executive director of SFAF.
   That's determined during the intake process, she said.
   Proving you've exhausted all other avenues can be taxing. Willenberg said, calling the processes of navigating governmental documents "overwhelming."
   "I think it's indicative, of how complicated our system is if you're in need," the said. "Red tape could be streamlined in a way that extends compassion toward the ill "
   It's a sentiment frequently echoed across the medical sector — one that is hardly confined to HIV/AIDS.
   The complicated nature of accessing care, combined with the inevitable risk of public stigma, is what for more than two decades has produced a reluctance to be tested for the infection.
   If a positive result only leads to a perceived death sentence paved by emotional distress and social isolation, what is the incentive to be tested?
   "I walk a fine line with some of this. I know there are no easy answers," Willenberg said.
Then, after a brief pause, her response came succinctly.
“I would hope that someone's innate humanism would   be enough," she said.

Please forgive any formatting errors, this article came out yesterday, was cut and pasted to a sheet of paper, faxed to Arizona, scanned into MS Word, re-formatted, corrected, e-mailed back to California this morning, and then I placed it here for you all to read and enjoy.


In Total Love and Awe.

P.S.  The first article, posted by Dancerboy/Danny, had a nice photo attached and I will place it here for you all to see, of course with Zephyr's permission.

[attachment deleted by admin]
« Last Edit: August 12, 2006, 08:00:00 AM by Moffie65 »
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline DancerBoy

  • Member
  • Posts: 284
Re: Here is Zephyr's second interview installment....
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2006, 11:40:38 AM »
Tim, thanks for hellping our Zephy get this up, I know I've been looking forward to it for a while now.

Zeph-  You never cease to amaze me. 6 Days.
Boys are Stupid

Offline zephyr

  • Member
  • Posts: 457
    • Zephyr L.T.N.P. Foundation, Inc.
Re: Here is Zephyr's second interview installment....
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2006, 12:57:56 PM »
Dear Tim....

Yep, that closet door got SLAMMED shut!! FOREVER.

You and Danny have been so helpful with getting the article posted for everyone to read!! Thanks to both of you!!

What I am so excited about is the mention of AidsMeds.com...........YAY Sonya!!

Onward, friends...

"It is character that communicates most eloquently."

Offline MoltenStorm

  • Member
  • Posts: 477
  • Poz & Fabulous
Re: Here is Zephyr's second interview installment....
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2006, 03:16:29 PM »
Way to Go, Zephyr! This article has been amazing (part I and II)! Is there going to be a third article?

"Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful nor conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people's sins, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes." - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, adaptation in A Walk To Remember

CD4: 555 / 29% / Undetectable - 7 Nov 2006
CD4: 555 / 29% / Undetectable - 5 Feb 2007

Offline Eldon

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  • Posts: 2,664
Re: Here is Zephyr's second interview installment....
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2006, 03:39:29 PM »
Hi Zephie, it is Eldon. You sure did nail the closet door shut on this one. We had up to 80 or more guests last night in the forums.

I am also excited that you mentioned AM and the put it in the article. This is a good thing.

Keep the momentum going!

Offline zephyr

  • Member
  • Posts: 457
    • Zephyr L.T.N.P. Foundation, Inc.
Re: Here is Zephyr's second interview installment....
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2006, 11:12:36 PM »
Thanks, Molten Storm & Eldon...

I was VERY PLEASED about AM getting print in this article!! This site has been such an AMAZING part of my life, I couldn't help but talk about it with the journalist!!

And yes, there is a Part #3...maybe it will come out on Monday..I hope. Sonya said she saved the best for LAST!

I am very happy to do what I can to 'keep the momentum' going!!

My best to you,

"It is character that communicates most eloquently."

Offline Biggums

  • Member
  • Posts: 199
Re: Here is Zephyr's second interview installment....
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2006, 12:17:46 AM »
OMG Zeph..........I was ready for the good things you were going to say and your honesty and humbleness coming through in the article.  What I wasn't ready for was your age!  I had to quickly double-click on your profile to make sure it wasn't a typo.  Having only seen your pic before and never having checked out your bio I was shocked.  Baby, you look MAH-VELOUS!  You go girl!
44 year old gay man .......just broke up with the only man I've ever really loved.

You can love completely without complete understanding.

Offline zephyr

  • Member
  • Posts: 457
    • Zephyr L.T.N.P. Foundation, Inc.
Re: Here is Zephyr's second interview installment....
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2006, 02:21:18 AM »

I've been forgetting to mention that I found the plant that prevents aging!! LOL!!

No, really, it must be the genes, because if you saw my Mom (89), you'd think 70's, I swear!!

It's true that I am a member of the recently discussed 'aging' segment of the HIV/AIDS community, but somehow, I don't feel it.

Many thanks for your kind remarks on the article..appreciate you taking the time to read Part 2!

My best,

"It is character that communicates most eloquently."

Offline Moffie65

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: Here is Zephyr's second interview installment....
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2006, 08:11:26 AM »
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline blondbeauty

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,787
Re: Here is Zephyr's second interview installment....
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2006, 05:10:15 PM »
Wonderful! We are mentioned in the article and all! I agree with biggums, amongst many other things, you are genetically privileged.
I hope HIV- people start visiting us and realizing we are normal, smart, sexy and everything. Just as anybody else.
Thank you Zeph!
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


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