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Let There Be Blood

By Brooke Davidoff

June 19, 2011

My last column sparked an e-mail to me from a doctor in my state who helped me get in on a weekend to get my labs done. She organized for me to actually get on board with a doctor I had been referred to months ago. I go in to see her June 16th.

I no longer have AIDS! Woohoo I have been downgraded to HIV positive. That only took a year and a half. Still symptomless other than night sweats; I'll take it.

I got a refill of my meds called in and just picked them up. I will get to pay for them later. My new medical insurance has a $1,500.00 deductable. I had six vials of blood taken for my labs and got a bill in the mail the other day for over $1,000.00. How are people supposed to be able to afford that? C'mon; we're on one income for three people, a cat and a puppy.

I do care about my health; I do want to live for my son and husband, my friends and family. I want to be a better person. To help educate others so they do not have to join our HIV club. I want to be a published author. I want I want I want.

Maybe I am afraid to go to the doctor. I'm sure most of you didn't go to get your results thinking you had HIV. I expected to be told they found pot in my system. We smoked the week of our wedding. I expected to be informed not to change litter boxes anymore because the toxins were bad for the baby.

I did not expect to go into the doctor's office and be told I had a incurable disease.

I watch True Blood addictively and know the vampires would not date any of us. We don't fit into a category on that show, or anywhere else. We are truly unique. You can't catch cancer. People who are married to cancer patients don't fear sleeping with them. We need a TV show; we need a movie other than Philadelphia. We need representation; there has to be at least ONE famous ALIVE Hollywood-type woman with it. Where in the hell is she? Where are our voices? I was invited to go to D.C. for the 30-year AIDS anniversary to speak. I could not make it based on financial reasons. I will have to go next year. Maybe my book will be done by then and someone will want to publish it.

I feel like I'm locked in a box with all of you. We scream at the passersby who have no idea HIV is lurking, but they cannot hear us. They have no idea they are at risk, and we are the only ones who can save them. The more people who test positive, the more we have failed them.

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See Also
More Personal Accounts of Women With HIV/AIDS

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Emily (Idaho Falls) Tue., Aug. 23, 2011 at 4:19 pm UTC
So glad you got downgraded! (and that's the only time this will sound positive).
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Comment by: Tonya (Roseville, MI) Tue., Jul. 12, 2011 at 10:50 am UTC
Hugs I agree completely. I often feel alone as a woman with HIV.
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Comment by: Margaret (England) Fri., Jul. 8, 2011 at 2:24 am UTC
Im happy you have been downgraded but I didnt kow that could happen I thought once you had an AIDS defining illness that it didnt matter if you went to UNdetec and CT of over 1000 you still had AIDS?
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Comment by: Michaele V. (Minneapolis, KS) Sat., Jun. 25, 2011 at 11:01 am UTC
I am new to this site but not new to the virus. I was diagnosed in April of 1996 with HIV and then in January of 2003 with AIDS. I have a question for is it that you no longer have AIDS? I was told by my doctor in Wichita, KS that once diagnosed with AIDS there was no reversal in the diagnosis. I have been living with this STD now for over 15yrs. and have never been to any support group or had anyone to talk to about my life with HIV/AIDS that's why a friend of mine gave me the idea to blog so here I am. If you or anyone els have any suggestion or resource I can connect with please let me know I would really appreciate any direction at this point.
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Brooke Davidoff (Seattle, WA) Tue., Jun. 28, 2011 at 11:41 am UTC
I was told you have to have your CD4 number go under 200 twice to have a full AIDS diagnosis. If I keep my numbers up, on paper I have an HIV diagnosis.

Comment by: Ashley N (San Diego) Mon., Jun. 20, 2011 at 5:05 pm UTC
Hey hun! I'm so inspired by you! I'm really glad your health is better! Your son is a very lucky little boy!!! Stay strong. I know that's easy to say but I know you will. :)
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Comment by: Positive mom Sun., Jun. 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm UTC
So happy to hear you are on the road to better health. Very powerful article. I agree with you. Where are the powerful positive female role models? It is so lonely having this disease. Even with the most incredible husband and beautiful daughter, it is a tough and scary road being positive. I do think Regan Hoffman is the closest thing we have to a strong powerful representative as a powerful positive female advocate/ author. Again, so happy to hear you are getting better.
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Voice of ONE

Brooke Davidoff

Brooke Davidoff

Brooke grew up in San Diego, Calif., and from a young age she wanted to change the world with her words. She has been writing poetry since 1992, and majored in journalism in school.

She was diagnosed with AIDS when she was eleven weeks pregnant in her first year of marriage. She is now a single mother living in Long Beach, Calif.

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