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The Only Thing "Positive" in My Life Was My HIV Status

By B. Osten

February 14, 2012

The '80s and '90s took their toll on me physically and mentally. Within that time, I've made wrong choices and unhealthy decisions. At 42, I had a methamphetamine dependency left over from my circuit club days. Along with bi-polar disorder it was a vicious cycle of highs and lows. I accumulated emotional clutter along the way and felt worthless and invisible.

Furthermore, I developed a slight buffalo hump that took away what little self esteem I had left. It was like being branded with the scarlet letter "A" on my back. Because of this, I became reclusive, celibate and began to horde resentment. I lived a miserable existence in deplorable, toxic and oppressive conditions for the next eight years.

I believe life is full of crossroads. Some you take and others you avoid. I've traveled many, except one in particular: the straight and narrow. It was time I did. My October 2011 article on TheBody.com, "Companion Animals Targeted by Unscrupulous Landlord; Their Owner Bites Back," will explain it all in detail and bring you up to date on my rise out of the ashes.

Today, I'm on a regimen of psych and HIV meds. After 26 years of being positive, my viral load is undetectable. My CD4 count averages between 700-800 T cells. Instead of focusing on the physical effects of HIV, I now concentrate on my inner being. I'm free of crystal meth and on a natural high instead. I seize the day and look forward to the next. I appreciate the smallest of things and take nothing for granted. I ask what I can do for others and not what they can do for me.

Every now and then the past creeps back. And when it does I take a moment and compare it to where I am today. In a way, I feel this is my spiritual guide's way of keeping me in check and on track.

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Positive Thinking

Reader Comments:

Comment by: sam Mon., Jun. 18, 2012 at 12:38 pm EDT
how long does it take to get over the ARV side effects?
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Comment by: Alberto (Germany) Tue., Mar. 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm EST
You've had a really hard life, and the fact that you still go on is what makes you amazing. Don't ever give up hope, I believe that there will be a cure for HIV, and it doesn't matter what you did in the past as long as those mistakes made you learn about life.
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Positive Thinking


B. Osten

B. Osten

I've been living with HIV for 26 years. I volunteer at various AIDS organizations in my community in the day. At night I like to spend my time at the observatory. I couldn't tell you the names of all the planets offhand, or what a black hole is for sure. But, there isn't a day that goes by I haven't looked up at the night sky and thanked my lucky stars I'm still alive to enjoy it.


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