- Posted November 28, 2011 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Have you been affected by AIDS?
HIV + 2009
- JacqueCNN, CNN iReport producer
The cynic in me told me that it didn't take a scientist to know that I was most assuredly positive as well, and a finger prick later I was informed that I was indeed. I was a late tester (same as him) and found out after my first set of labs that I was actually in the AIDS range of the CD4 count and was started on meds immediately...
Since that time I have moved up the antiretrovirals into the wonderful status of undetectable, and I only have to take 1 pill a day as if I were taking a vitamin...
When I first found out it was the hardest thing that I had ever faced... I had just turned 19, had never really been promiscuous, and had been in a relationship with this person for over a year and they had never mentioned anything to me about it until it was too late. After educating myself on what it meant to me and my life I have realized that I don't have anything to fear from it, rather I just need to protect and educate others that I am partnered with in the future. I still get to do everything that I have wanted to do in my life, there's just a new piece to my story that I will have to share.
Since 2009 I have watched many in the HIV/AIDS community in Minneapolis and seen that their lives are for the most part unchanged... Yes I have had some friends pass away, and that has been difficult... but I will not live my life in constant fear of dying when I could spend that same time living.
AIDS in my community has always been a concern... I volunteer and particpate in my local AIDS community center as often as possible, and now that I am stable in a career and living far more comfortably I am happy to donate to their cause and also to work with them this holiday season on the Holiday Baskets they will be sending out...
In Minneapolis there are a few organizations for HIV/AIDS + people, food shelves, case management, meal programs, integrative therapies, etc. All of these things including the education that comes with attending the classes they put on monthly make these programs effective in not only self care, but also in preventing the spread of it from positive persons that are still sexually active.
My current partner is not positive, and has not become positive from dating me... Being a sero-positive couple has it's social stigma's, but I am blessed to be with someone that knows that with preventative measures there is little to no danger to him in our life.
I know I will watch more people die from this before they finally find a cure for it, or at least a preventative drug... But until then, self care and education are the best measures of making sure that the infection ends with you.