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HIV Positive and Past 50: Words of Wisdom to My Newly Diagnosed, Younger Self


Jimmy Mack, 55, Southampton, N.Y.; Diagnosed in 1987

Jimmy Mack, 55, Southampton, N.Y.; Diagnosed in 1987

Well, hindsight is always 20/20 and I know now I had to follow the path I chose in order to eventually find spirituality, a High Power and myself. Helen Keller once said: "I thank God for my handicaps, for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God." If I change "handicaps" to "diseases" then I, too, can see that the disease of HIV brought out my other disease of alcoholism/addiction, and brought me to me knees where I had nowhere else to turn but to a "God of my understanding" who was always there and always will be. So what would I tell myself at 29 after testing HIV positive? Maybe the same thing that is told to young gay people: "It gets better"; or maybe just simply: "Have faith, it's going to be all right."

Today, we are the person we have become because of our HIV status. Accept it -- it takes more effort to deny something than to accept it. Don't try to control it by hiding behind a thin veil of secrecy. You will be denying another individual that vital piece of information that you possess, and can share to prevent them from becoming HIV positive -- or help them cope, emotionally, spiritually, physically -- with who they are: A person living with HIV, but still capable of loving -- themselves and others.


Empezando Tu Camino Como VIH Positivo
Starting Your Journey With HIV

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See Also
More Personal Accounts of Older People With HIV/AIDS

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