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When Did You Start HIV Meds? Stories Spanning Several Decades

April 22, 2013

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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.




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