The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol

When Did You Start HIV Meds? Stories Spanning Several Decades

April 22, 2013


Pat Kelly

Pat Kelly, Orangeburg, S.C.; Diagnosed in 1985

For many, many years, they tried to get me into treatment, to take medication. Because I watched what AZT (Retrovir, zidovudine) did to my brother, I was adamant about not taking it. Just being there, taking care of him, I was in the mindset that they were using people as guinea pigs to test the medicine -- they really didn't know if it would work or not. And then when the cocktails came out, I said, "OK, more guinea pig-ism." But then in 1998, when I got the diagnosis of AIDS, it sort of really hit that maybe now I was finally going to die. And if I lived all this time without the medicine, maybe if I take it, I'll live longer. ...

The doctors were concerned and they talked to me. They told me, "Well, you know with 98 T cells, you can get this; you can get that. And being here in the prison, where you are really open to a lot of things, we really can't protect you." And so I said, "I want to live for my grandkids." I had missed the opportunity with my own kids. So, maybe for my grandkids I'll be there a little longer.

Read or watch Pat's full This Positive Life interview.

Related Stories

Treatment Cascade: A Spotlight Series
HIV Medications: When to Start and What to Take -- A Guide From
More on When to Begin HIV Treatment

This article was provided by


Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:


The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our advertising policy.