Whatever people say, however they say it….being HIV Positive is a Life Sentence….That is, if you are one of the lucky ones that is in receipt of HIV medication. I didn’t have much choice in the matter when it came to discussing the HIV medication that was to become my savior. I was admitted to hospital in the 3rd stage of an AIDS diagnosis and it was pretty much touch and go if I would survive as the virus had viciously attacked my immune system, a system already compromised as I had had my spleen removed 10 years prior.
It was also suspected I had TB as I had a really awful cough/chest infection so was put in an isolated room on arrival. It was a really frightening time for me and for my family and friends. Luckily, I didn’t have TB but could not start the HIV meds until they had got the Chest Infection under control. A few days passed and I was visited by a female HIV Specialist. She was really nice and straight forward and I really warmed to her and valued her advice. I started the usual first approach which was a combination of Combivir and Efavirenz and was constantly told and aware that I had to adhere to this strict regimen of exact time periods between each tablet that I became quite paranoid and once home would constantly wake in the night as so worried that I might have forgotten to take my tablets. This paranoia went on for years and it's only now that I don’t wake up in the middle of the night to check my meds box…it's now because I need the toilet…damn old age/old bladder!!!
I have changed my meds and now only have 3 tablets to take once in the morning, and yes, I have nearly forgotten to take on a couple of occasions which is pretty good when I’ve been doing this sentence now for nearly 9 years. I know that I am extremely lucky and privileged to be in receipt of HIV medication and will continue to tell others how important it is to take them. I know there are side effects but what’s the other choice…DEATH!!!! I am not ready to die just yet as I feel it my duty to survive for all my brothers and sisters all over the world that have died and still die due to lack of education and medication. We as Positive Survivors are great Ambassadors of this disease and need to tell others the pitfalls of living with this disease and how it can affect us mentally and physically...and how it can affect our employment status/insurance/mortgage status amongst other discrimination and tell others not to be complacent with their lives.
You only get one Life, So why would you want to live it with HIV??? YEP, HIV IS A LIFE SENTENCE AND ‘THIS BIRD’S DOING LIFE!!!!’