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An HIV Nonprogressor Starts Meds; or HIV Sucks

June 6, 2012

This entry has been cross-posted from Brandon's Blogspot blog, My Feet Only Walk Forward, which is home to Brandon's general musings on life, the world and other matters.

Brandon Lacy Campos

Brandon Lacy Campos

Let's start this way: I have an amazing job with amazing people, especially my co-director Amber Hollibaugh and my Shelter Program Director Jay Toole. I've known them both for years and years before working with them and I love them both dearly.

Though I live with HIV, I am healthy. I am fed. My bills (except my student loans) are paid. I have an awesome roommate and a beautiful dog. My family loves the Hell out of me, and I have seven siblings that hold up their big brother always. I have friends/family/complicated definition folks in my life such as JT Mikulka, Bebe Zahara Benet, RJ Thompson, Roojie, Kamal Fizazi, Sam Matin, Di Sands, Jennifer Molina Balbuena de Hannon, Jason Ruiz, Coya Hope Artichoker, Anh Thu Pham, Betty Tisel and Sarah Farley, Susan Raffo and Rocki Simoes, Rigo and Nubia, my beautiful nieces and nephews, my godson Santiago aka Baby Rufus, Troll Baby and Rebs, Gracie, crazy ass and brilliant Ebony, my brother from another mother and father Carlitos Blanquitos, and so so so many others. I am so blessed and full up on love, and I KNOW that so many folks walking around this earth experience or believe that they have a love deficit. I don't. I NEVER have had. I have ALWAYS in every moment, in my deepest poverty, during the greatest violence, and in my fiercest hurt, and during my most self induced crazy, been held by so many with such compassion that if any one of them walked down to Hudson River park and commanded the River to split open, I wouldn't have been the least surprised. It would be nice though, if they do, if I could at least grab my good chancletas first.

We might be going to Jersey, but we don't have to LOOK like we live in Jersey.


My life changed this week. Only slightly. Only nominally. But it changed. After 10 years of being so very blessed. After 10 years of having my body, and all I've put it through, kick HIV's ass (I am one of those super rare and magical creatures called a nonprogressor ... not a super nonprogressor ... but a nonprogressor ... there is an important distinction that I am about to talk about), my amazing doctor, Steve Dillon at Gotham Medical, recommended that I start HAART treatment.

Nonprogressors go years, in my case a decade, without needing HIV meds. Supernonprogressors never need them. My body just got a little tired. It fought so hard for so so so long. From 25 to 35 it fought a war that it will win but now it needs just a little help. Just a bit.

Lets be real. For 10 years my body kept my HIV viral loads at or near undetectable ON ITS OWN. My T cells, are at "normie" levels. Near a thousand (and usually over....most normies aren't even that high).

And, to quote my girl, Lezbehonest ... the news that I have to start HAART treatment kicked my motherfuckingass.

I ain't dying. So far from it. I ain't sick. So far from it. I get to start a new state of the art med (Complera) particularly designed for folks like me that have a natural resistance to HIV. The side effects are almost non existent besides some initial fatigue and headaches. I AM SO FUCKING BLESSED.

And today, I broke the fuck down.

My walk with HIV is MY walk. And if I stop to compare it to other folks' journeys, I have nothing to complain about. But my feelings are real. My experience is real. My sadness and hurt is REAL. It's not cute. It's not easy. It's not a tragedy. It's not a crisis. But it is hard. It does hurt. And this transition and its incumbent feelings are all valid.

Thank you everyone who picked up the phone or sent a text today. I needed it. I needed you. I still need you. Thank you. I love you. And anyone else that walks this walk ... know that it's gonna be all right but it's gonna hurt when you take those first few steps ... whether it's a week after your diagnosis or after a decade.

Imma love and live well. So will you.

Send Brandon an email.

Read more of Queer, Poz and Colored: The Essentials, Brandon Lacy Campos's blog, at

More From This Resource Center

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Begin HIV Treatment

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This article was provided by TheBody.
See Also
More Personal Accounts Concerning HIV Treatment

Reader Comments:

Comment by: linda J. (Sierra Leone) Wed., Jun. 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm UTC
Brandon i admire u a lot.You are my hero,keep it up bro.nuff love from me to you.
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Brandon Lacy Campos (New York, NY) Thu., Jun. 14, 2012 at 11:42 am UTC
Love to you, Linda!

Comment by: Brandon Lacy Campos (New York, NY) Fri., Jun. 8, 2012 at 9:19 am UTC
Hey John! Thank you for this and your kind words. I don't think that I have the time to pick up a new blog, but let me check out your site, and it may be that I can syndicate my blogs with you as well (I write specific blogs sometimes for because I love Olivia Ford, but most of my blogs here are syndicated from Let's touch base. Feel free to email me at brandonlacycampos @ yahoo
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Comment by: John (Upstate Central NY ) Thu., Jun. 7, 2012 at 1:54 am UTC
I was checking some info for a twitter follower in another country. I just read your blog and it was very well done, good job. It is exactly how I have felt at times and pretty close to how I have said it too. Thank you for sharing your story. I am admin on a poz social/education site as well, its new still, but building momentum and we would LOVE to have bloggers like you on there. If you would like more info or would like to consider sending your blogs to us too, that would be great. Consumers and providers can join our site, its all free, tons of features too. Some tweet peeps in the Philippines are actually going to ck out now that Ive mentioned it and our site on twitter. Hope your well and would consider posting with us too. Thank you, John
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