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Do I want to live?
Jul 2, 2014

I recently read question by someone questioning whether he "deserved to live". My question is "do I want to live?". I constantly have thoughts of suicide. I was infected by the third person I slept with in 1982 who past away in 1987.I have had a multitude of medical issues since 1990 including a burst appendix/peritinitis, CMV retinitis, hep c co-infection and renal failure which lead to 8 1/2 years of dialysis and eventully transplant. I should be grateful to be alive but am unable to move on from the past. I am financially sound despite the fact that I've been out on disability for the last 19 years. I take 18 pills a day excluding supplements. I have a number of friends and socilize quite a bit. My main issue is I feel worthless. I have been impotent since 1992 (age 31) and am unable to get laid with the exception of one "kinky" friend who I see on a regular basis. My face has been altered by facial wasting that has shown only moderate improvement despite that I've spent over $11000 to date on fillers. What is the point? A therapist will tell me to get more hobbies, volunteer , etc but I would not find either gratifying. I am not the type to live like a spinster and pretend I'm ok with it. I don't really exhibit my feelings when I'm around friends and act happy. Inside, I'm hysterical. Again, the worst part is the impotence that Ive seen urologists for and nothing seems to help. People ask me why I'm not partnered and what do I say? "Oh, I can't get it up?" Everything is so pointless to me.

Response from Mr. Vergel

I am so sorry that you live in that horrible space. I am so glad that you too are reaching out. I am finding myself coaching more and more long term survivors like you that say "I should be happy but I hate my life".

I believe that many men and women who have survived HIV for many years while living on disability are prone to depression due to their lack of daily contact with people that a job would provide. I also think that our body changes have dramatically impacted our self esteem. Some of us feel like we never reached our potential due to HIV and our past health struggles. We may feel like we are aging while wasting our lives. And this feeling gets more intense when we hear that we should be happy to be alive.

Since we reached out, I will take the liberty to give you a few tips that I have learned while battling depression, lack of connection, and low self esteem:

1- Contact about your sexual dysfunction to have them test your hormones and provide options like ED drugs, HCG, Trimix, or others. It's a low cost patient assistance program being piloted right now for people who have no access to these therapies due to lack of informed doctors or lack of insurance. Sexual dysfunction can horribly impact self esteem and also our need for physical contact and release.

2- Get a referrals to a therapist and ask your primary care physician to put you on an antidepressant and/or testosterone replacement if you need them. Remember that some people may have to switch 4-6 times antidepressants until they find the right one, so do not give up easily on the search of one. After trying a few, Zoloft was the one that helped me during my months of despair.

3- Dig deep inside yourself about what would make you tick, no matter how silly or impractical that is. I know right now you obviously do not have anything that motivates you. This may require the guide of a therapist or life coach.

4- It sounds like you spent a lot of money on non permanent facial fillers like Sculptra and Radiesse. I have heard several people go through the same. I only tried Sculptra once and thought it was a waste of money. I finaly found cheaper PMMA via Dr Luis Casavantes in Mexico and got the work I needed. Read more on and email me there if you need more information. Facial wasting combined with sexual dysfunction can depress anyone!.

5- Write one sentence in the morning and one at night in a notebook that describes how you feel at that moment. Just do that to stay aware of your feelings. You may be surprised at seeing the results of something so basic as that.

6- Find a way to get out and get some exercise even if it is light. Do that every day even if you are not motivated. Stick with it for at least 10 days.

7- Get back to me after you go through these action items.

I have chosen to start being more direct in my replies about this issue since I am seeing so many emails of this type. I know how hard it can, be there is nothing more depressing that not taking charge and feeling like the medical field has failed to help you with some really important quality of life issues.

I hope I can help, so please keep me abreast of how things go. At least you can have a "virtual coach".

There is hope.


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