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Anonymous
Unregistered

Support for professional women diagnosed with HIV
      #155271 - 05/28/05 09:14 PM

I know that this disease doesn't discriminate. But I feel so alone as a black woman living with this disease. I'm the person in the family that everyone looks up to. I attended the best Universities, have a great career, beautiful home and car and a good relationship with my fiance....the perfect life to the outsider. I was diagnosed on May 17...and I'm dealing with this the best way that I can. But, other than my fiance doctor's, and a support group that I attended, no one knows that my life is a living hell. Please don't think badly of me that I feel this way...but of the women/men that I've met with this disease they had all of the classic rick factors (gay/lesbian, drug use, etc.), they're not working now because of various reasons, several did not have any insurance benefits. My behavior is not any more acceptable neither, but I believe that I contracted HIV from my fiance (his results are not in yet) or from a past college boyfriend. I felt odd being in the group, with my Chanel purse sitting next to me and a new Mercedes parked in the garage. I've worked hard and have been blessed...and now I feel that I'm going to lose it all. I'm worried that my job will find out, that I may not be able to work anymore, that I will lose my home, car, and my mind. I'm worried about disappointing and hurting my parents the most -they don't deserve this! I had all of my blood work (CD4, etc.) completed last Monday and now I'm waiting on the results - I'm nervous, what if it's more bad news (Hepatitis, start meds now!, etc.)

I welcome any and all feeback, but I would like to hear from other professional working, educated women who share a similar experience. I also would like to hear from other minority women - we're the most rising population for HIV infection, but yet we still don't communicate with one another enough.

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sage
Member

Reged: 04/15/05
Posts: 20
Re: Support for professional women diagnosed with HIV new
      #155393 - 05/29/05 03:43 PM

I found out a year and a half ago, I was so scared about loosing my job, becoming unemployed and not making enough money to support myself or daughter. I understand how you feel about being the odd person out in support groups, I feel the same way when I go. I have been a professional for 7 years and have had none of the big risk factors. In the last few months, I disclosed to my boss(mainly because of increased sick days as I ajusted to the meds) and she has been very supportive. I thought my family would have been disapointed, but they surprised me and it has actually brought us closer. It is scary and your allowed to feel scared. I am sure all of us have at the beginning and even from now and then. I wish you the best of luck and if you need to chat privately, let me know, we all need as much positive support that we can get.
Keep your head up and know that it will get better and you can keep working as long as you want to keep working, this disease doesn't define you or rule you only you rule you.
Take care


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tootoo
Member

Reged: 05/05/05
Posts: 10
Loc: union county NJ
Re: Support for professional women diagnosed with HIV new
      #155500 - 05/29/05 09:15 PM

I do agree with u that yet we still don't communicate with one another enough about this issue.
Being scared is the first impression we all had by knowing that the test came out positive; i have been there,i never get scared but i want to find a way to accept the challenge(live or die)
I had a wife and a 2 years old boy,that was in january 1990 and at that time i didn't know what to do .I kept on doing what i do the best ,working ,then in 1995 i became seriously sick,had a surgery,stayed at the hospital for six months with tb ,pneumonia ,etc but i never give up and lost hope.Then i have been rejected by my wife for family reason.Now if u do the math,it has been 15 years since i was diagnose.Because i want to live,i did all i can to accept the challenge;my insurance coverage wasn't reliable all year around to purchase my meds which was 15 to 1600 a month.To tell u the truth ,it's been hard for me but i want to concentrate to myself and get well ,and thanks God ,i did well .
I consider working as a fun part of my life because i enjoy keeping myself bz working.
I point out those details just to let u know that being positive is not the end of ur life ,instead u need to educate urself in this issue in order to deal with it. It's ok if u feel scared now, learn work, take care of urself and u will get use to it .Like me ,don't give up and despite all that you already have ,great career, beautiful home,car ,etc happiness is yet to come ,i wish you the best and i hope one day u will be happy .

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Support for professional women diagnosed with HIV new
      #155503 - 05/30/05 12:19 AM

I can relate perfectly to what you are going through. I was diagonosed almost 10 years ago. For a while prior to my diagonosis I suspected being positive for I had been in a relationship with someone whom indulged in IV drug use and had tested positive. Like you, I was a professional and was terrified that my employer would find out about my illness. At the time of my diagnosis (1996) we did not have the avialability of medications we have today and I thought for sure I was going to die. So, I quit my job and moved to another state. For several years I dealt with poor health and trouble adhering to medications because of side effects.

Today there are so many more medications available that you need not worry about dying. HIV has become a treatable disease and although sometimes it is difficult to adjust to medication, it is not the life threatening illness it use to be. HIV is now a disease that is comparable to diabetes and your chances for survival are relative to how you take care of yourself. That means taking meds as required, good nutrition, plenty of rest, exercise and dealing with stress and your emotional state. Unfortunately as you have already experienced, there is not much support for professional women to help with the emotional side. You will need to get support from family or friends who you trust. Perhaps you can see a therapist that can help you with breaking the news to loved ones when you are ready. In the meantime, learn as much as you can about taking care of yourself and try to make friends in forums such as this and other sites that can serve as a support group for you. There are other sites such as poz.com, positiveconnections.com and others where you can learn more about HIV and/or can establish friendships.
Stay positive and don't give up.

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Support for professional women diagnosed with HIV new
      #155759 - 06/02/05 02:12 PM

Hi dear,

Don't worry (I know it's hard to believe) Do you have an email address I can write to you? I'm also a minority professional woman.

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debtex
Legend

Reged: 03/21/05
Posts: 846
Re: Support for professional women diagnosed with HIV new
      #155783 - 06/02/05 10:09 PM

Hi,

Sorry we have to meet this way. I know what you mean about the support groups, I live in Boston, and most of the women were struggling w/ drugs, housing, and child custody, while I had just finished college, started a new job, and was raising my 3 year old alone.

But I continued to go, and actually got close to these women...because of the "thing" that bonded us. But I always felt as though, I wish there was someone I could talk to on a level more related to my own.

You know its weird, one day in school (the day I was getting my results...no kidding) we had this silly little contest in class (I forget what it was), but I won!! Oh how great....even though inside I was still dying because I was fearing my results (I was really preping myself for the inevidable)..do you know what I won!!! I won a WILLMAKER (software program). It just confirmed the answer that I was going to get.

I know it feels as though you are disapointing your family, after all the great things you have done, and it sounds like you are very close to them. That is going to make the rest of your life much more special. I am from a big family too. You really begin to appreciate "time" differently. I was diagnosed in 95, and had a pretty low tcell count to start, but that was 10 yrs ago, and my tcells are super, and my viral load remains low...even taking a break from meds (which you never think you will see the day), but I took them for 8 of the 10 years....
Life will get easier, and you will meet someone like you (I have to say...maybe not brand new mercedes like you, just kidding), but what is so super and so special about you, is that, you are someone who not only appreciates who you have in your life...you appreciate how hard it was to get where you are, and work hard for it).

You will have your happyness, and then some. don't fear your job, especially so soon. There are alot of professional working women w/ hiv, you'd be surprized, its just usually not known....because they fear people finding out...like you. I work w/ people with hiv...and I've even shocked myself meeting some patients come in, with "who" they are and "what" they do. And I always think to myself (because I know), they must have a hard time finding others to connect to. Especially with hiv....you are desperate to feel like you are not alone.

You are not alone.


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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Support for professional women diagnosed with HIV new
      #155795 - 06/03/05 11:31 AM

Hi,
If you would like to write, you can reach me at ladyrsfl@earthlink.net



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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Support for professional women diagnosed with HIV new
      #155857 - 06/06/05 01:39 PM

I truly understand where you are coming from. I am a professional women and on top of that I work in an non profit organization and to seek out support groups will only put in the faces of the people I serve. It took me a while but I disclosed to my family and to those I feel needs to know. I think with time we will bond and speak out to each other. I feel like you feel we need to see other women like us going through this thing. When I meet someone and I feel like it will get physical I usually disclose but with time they usually leave.

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Support for professional women diagnosed with HIV new
      #155869 - 06/06/05 03:05 PM

I've sent a message twice at ladyrsfl@earthlink and keep someone else has replied claiming not to know anything about "the body" If this email is wrong, let me know

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LivingPoz
Member

Reged: 06/02/05
Posts: 13
Loc: Florida
Re: Support for professional women diagnosed with HIV new
      #156023 - 06/08/05 04:08 PM

I totally relate, I'm Hispanic and got the virus in 1997 when I was living in NY. I had gone there after getting my BBA. At the beginning one wants to be sort of a fatalist but as time goes by and you keep enjoying life you understand that things are not as bad as when the disease was discovered back in the 80's. Now you are even luckier since they have once a day pills with fewer pills and side effects. My only recommendations are to read all you can about it, don't jump on a treatment even if your doc pushes you. Actually if he pushes you find another doc. I was lucky with my first doc he never pushed me to take pills and he just kept me informed. Then I moved to Miami and went to a new doc. He is more pill oriented but he made his case, I did my research and decided that it was best to keep my immune system strong that to get sick and have to build up. There is a % that comes with the CD4 that he used to explain this to me. Basically my CD4 was around the high 200's, my VL was very and I was feeling good. The problem was the % that was going down. So, I agreed. So far so good. Actually I love my doctor and wouldn't change him in a million years. I'm having a baby in August, you might have read my post. And I'm extremely happy. I'm a true believer that everything in life happens for a reason and that there is lesson in everything that happens to us. For me the virus has taught me to appreciate life to its fullest, to appreciate my friends and family, and to look for inner peace. I was raised to believe that happiness is not a permanent state that it comes and goes, now I don’t believe that, happiness is always there and problems will always come and go. Is just a matter of how you look at things. Write me through this system if you want to talk some more.

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Support for professional women diagnosed with HIV new
      #156264 - 06/18/05 03:15 AM

I understand exactly how you feel. I was diagnosed a little over three years ago after just completing my MBA. I almost lost my mind as I have two young children and thought I was going to die.

The worst thing was not being able to find a support group with any other professional women. All the groups I tried, were mostly gay men or women with drug problems.

I finally gave up and have been going it alone. Luckily the virus is under control with meds and between work and my kids I have little time to even think about it.

My doctor told me there are plenty of women out there like me but because we have so much to lose we stay silent.

You will feel better over time. The news is a shock which takes time to get over.

As for disclosure, I have told noone except my mother wh ois very supportive. I would never tell my employer as I don't feel it is anyones business. As long as you are healthy I would suggest keeping your status to yourself.

Someday I will have to tell my kids, they are 10 and 12, but hopefully not until they are going to college. I want them to worry about usual kid stuff, not about me.

Good luck and don't worry.

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Love1
Unregistered

Re: Support for professional women diagnosed with HIV new
      #156328 - 06/20/05 05:14 AM

Hi

Iam a professional women living in South Africa. I was diagnosed this year in February. The news were devastating but you know what, I thanked God for everything I have: The best job, car, house and most of all two lovely kids. I vowed not to let this virus to control my life. I am a strong believer in GOD and I know that God is my strength. I have not told anybody about my status. I don't think nobody deserves to know about my status especially my MOM and kids. Maybe after 10 years if the cure has not been found i can disclose. Keep your head up high my sister. Enjoy every minute of your life and don't let HIV to rule you.

STay positive about life and remember that GOD is your strength.



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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Support for professional women diagnosed with HIV new
      #156439 - 06/23/05 04:02 PM

Sometimes knowledge seems to overwhelm good sense. Slow down and take your time to consider your feelings in regards to how you will begin to take care and manage your disease. I felt better and able to deal when I was at peace with myself. You will be your own worst enenmy or your best friend. You will need this in dealing with family, friends, co-workers ect. Sometimes people won't understand and sometimes you will be surpised and welcome the support. Some just won't know what to say or do. Don't take it personal. This will become a time of reckoning ,welcome it and enjoy the journey. Its not easy at times, but I hope that these times are short. Stay encourage

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Support for professional women diagnosed with HIV new
      #158242 - 08/06/05 01:11 AM

I am also a professional woman in the same situation. I was diagnosed 10 years ago - I can't believe the time passed so quickly. What I know is that the inital shock, numbness and panic will pass. Over time, you will be able to go about your business and exceed. I liked the post from the lady in South Africa with her encouragement to have a positive attitude. Write back to us through this thread and we will support you!


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SistasUpperRoom
Unregistered

Re: Support for professional women diagnosed with HIV new
      #158534 - 08/11/05 10:24 PM

Dear Sister, You are not alone, there are many professional women with HIV. I am orgainizing a professional woman's HIV/AIDS support group and would love for you and others to join me. We have alot in common and can provide strength and support for each other. Do not despair, remember life is a lesson and a journey. Draw from your spritual self and the source (Creator) and find your balance which is there for you, this will enable you to overcome many of your fears and live on as you were meant to do.

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