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LESSONS ON LIVING WITH HIV
Mar 17, 2006

Dear DR's,

I have been HIV+ since 1989! And yes, you should congratulate me! <smile>

In addition to all your wonderful advice and assistance I would like to share with your readers some of the thoughts that have inspired and kept me alive and relatively healthy far beyond even my own expectations! Remember, I was diagnosed when AIDS was an automatic death sentence. There was only one medication (AZT) which was being experimentally administered in high doses and with nauseating side effects. Many health care workers back then were afraid of us or just plain didn't know how to treat our aliments and all anyone could do was watch in horror as the epidemic spread.

From this experience I grew and nursed and loved and lost along with a unified community, despite the outcry from those who said we were deservedly cursed. So, tell me how I could not take a stand and face my HIV head on? Listen, read, learn, research, discuss and participate as much as you can is what I told myself and you will have peace in knowing you did your very best.

My philosophy although simple is not easy however I have experienced what I consider tremendous successes. When I first tested positive I decided I had only 2 (two) choices:

TO LIVE WITH OR DIE FROM THIS DISEASE.

Think about it for a moment and realize that is all you have to decide! You either step up to the plate, and take the challenge or you don't. Accepting will require strength and conviction the likes of which you cannot imagine but you will pull it out of nowhere and you will be all the stronger as a result.

Realize that it's O.K. to own your disease. I repeat daily to my virus, "I can have you but you can't have me." And I joke that my virus is the stupid strain and cannot figure out how to replicate! LOL! I can hear you all giggling and thinking that I have probably taken one step too far over the rainbow but our minds and thoughts are truly powerful. You are no more and no less challenged than any one else in this HIV experience. The difference lies in how you will respond.

Finally, take look at human history and see we are confronted with evidence that there have always been people who lived through every epidemic. WHY CAN'T I BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE?! Take that and own it!

Remember, it's all about living with and not dying from...Love, laugh, cry, smile, but most of all decide to LIVE!

Wishing us all improved health,

James

Response from Dr. Horwath

I could not have said it any better.



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