*Juanita* takes me back many years


Juanita (a pseudonym) at My Journey with AIDS (blogspot) could use your daily support via her comments section.

I remember crying – day after day of crying – when I first tested HIV-positive seventeen years ago (only to find out that I had been sero-converting, i.e. changing to positive after infection, a year or so before that.) This means I’ve been living with this for more than eighteen years now. I never dreamed I could have – much less would have – survived this long.

Many friends, peers who had been infected around the same time even, did not survive long enough to see the wide range of medications we now have these days. (See “Change” and “January 14, 1994” as just two examples.) I still grieve for them and often wonder why I was spared (although I’m really trying to let go of that useless “survivor guilt”.)

Further reading of this blog will show how my mother and father faced the reasonable possibility that both of their sons would die of HIV/AIIDS-related causes. While Craig has indeed been a very painful loss this spring it was not as a direct result of his HIV (and he was HIV+ a few years before me!)

Nevertheless I completely understand the trauma Juanita is feeling and I can only imagine the fear she has for her child’s future. Yet I am also very hopeful. There is no reason, none at all, why anyone newly infected in these late days of the 21st century’s first decade ought to die of HIV/AIDS. Early intervention with medications, which ought to be available under the supervision of doctors anywhere in the world, can change what used to be certain death from AIDS to a long-term medical condition which is treatable. This is not to suggest that the treatments are a walk in the park – indeed it can take quite awhile to find the best combination of medications – but I am passionate in making my views known, inspired by great people such as Stephen Lewis, that no one – no matter where they live – ought to be spared the opportunities to live with HIV as long as I have been given.

Hang in there, Juanita. I know it’s very difficult in these early days but I look forward to reading of your journey for many months and years to come!

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2 thoughts on “*Juanita* takes me back many years

  1. Yes I hope people will show support for Juanita.I don`t know if people that have the disease find it helpful to be supported by people that don`t have the disease.But I try anyway.
    Yes and get rid of that survivors guilt, because today as I was cutting some grass,this little thought was running through my head.
    I was thinking how terrible it would be if you died before me,because you do so much compared to me. Just the thought of it was giving me survivors guilt,but then I thought, everyone in the whole world could walk around with survivors guilt everyday of their life because if we`re going to start keeping that kind of score then we`re going to all be pretty miserable about being left behind.There is always going to be someone that we think should probably be here instead of ourselves.I don`t know if that makes sense.

  2. Hi Kenn,
    Yours have been the most encouraging messages so far – probably because you know where the shoe pinches most, thanks very much for that. Your messages, plus the few others I have received, made me smile yesterday as I narrated my ordeal at the HIV/AIDS office (thought I was fuming mad and really frustrated when walking out).
    Your blog has also given me a spec of hope, what with the amount of time you have had since testing +ve.
    It’s good to know that someone has an idea of what it is like, though my battle has just began. Thanks again for your encouraging words, and for sharing.

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