I have written concerning this day since ’98. Before that I would be with a gathering of folks remembering what HIV can do to a person. It is an unusually somber day for me as I look back through almost 30 years of helping folks with this disease and watching them die. I chose this because of the fear and hatred displayed to many with HIV from friends and families. I refused to let them go alone.
The day has meant much to me personally for 20 years since I was diagnosed with the virus. I have had the infection for almost 30 years. I have known the fear and sense of loss that comes with the virus. Three times I have been in AIDS land rolling in my beds fighting Pneumonias and wondering if it wasn’t the final chapter in my life. I remember when my doctor told me that I had to resign from my job and tone my life down. I had to learn that there were restrictions in what I could do anymore.
It has been 16 years since I was really ill and in danger due to the damage to my immune system from HIV. I walk a slim line, but I turned out to be one of the lucky ones in that I have a handle on this thing. I rarely take medications unless my system is getting weak. My doctors wonder why my system can get stronger and keep the virus at bay without those meds in my body.
I just tell them it is about mind and the Spirit. I don’t see it as the enemy anymore:It is just a fellow traveler.
On this World Aids day we should pray for a means to remove HIV from the body. We can also give others strength and hope. Teach them that they are not alone and there is a vast amount of knowledge working tirelessly to find a cure. One day there will be a cure.
The other thing that is needed is to help those who don’t understand this disease the ways for remaining safe from it. Many people still haven’t gotten the message. Safe sex is the only way to go in this day and age. There are those who have yet to be tested and unsafe sex will spread it from them to others who may never realize what happened until it is too late.
Becoming more active with those infected is a good way to spread hope and help them live more full lives. Donations to support centers are also needed since often they can barely hold on to serve the few they can. Opposing discrimination of HIV folks is always needed.
I used to counsel those with the virus, but I took time off. Now I am going back to doing so again. I have been given a gift: I have made it so far, and if 10 more folks can last as long as I have, the work was worth it.
So please remember those affected. It’s not just them but their families, friends and loved ones.
WE WILL BEAT THIS DISEASE. It just takes a lot of hope.