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HIV shrouds every aspect of my life.

Nov 1, 2004

I have been positive for two years. It has been the most devastating thing I have ever been through. I have a very supportive group of family and friends, work full-time, maintained my military career, completed a Bachelor's and Master's Degree and will be pursuing a Ph.D. However, amidst all of these accomplishments, I can't seem to put the HIV out of my mind. I feel as though I'm living behind a barrier that I just can't break through. I think about it everyday. I have accepted my diagnosis and have even helped others to make the transition between negative to positive. What is the magic for removing this HIV overlay that covers every aspect of my life? Do you have any recommendations for helping me to move on?

Response from Dr. Horwath

Actually, you seem to be doing very well. You have continued in your work and social relationships, and you sound quite successful.

I'm not sure what you mean by removing the HIV overlay. This is now a part of your reality, in the same way that anyone with any type of illness needs to adjust to the reality of living with it. For example, if someone develops diabetes, it becomes a new part of their reality. They need to adjust their diet and a variety of other things about their life, including taking medication. They will never again be without this necessity.

In the same way, HIV is now a part of your life. It need not be the center of your life (indeed, you have many good things going on outside of your HIV infection), but it will be there for the foreseeable future. I don't know of any magic for removing it, but there is a triumph in living a satisfying and productive life in spite of it. I encourage you to continue doing so, as you clearly already have done. May you be blessed with great success in this effort.

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