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!