Are you a person living with HIV? I am!
I saw this picture posted by UNAIDS. If you click on the picture, it will open up, and you can read in the balloons some good things and some not so good issues, we, who are living with HIV, face. By no means are the issues listed complete, and while we may identify and possibly share many of the same issues, we also deal with with many different issues.
On Facebook, I compiled a list of issues I deal with. Didn't get many responses ... I guess because it wasn't a happy -- nonsensical post -- but rather, one filled with a reality which at times can be rather challenging, in spite of the fact that I wear a smile, and am daily meeting life on life's terms. People just don't know what to say.
I invite you to comment and add your own issues (if you are a person living with HIV), be they good ones or challenging ones!
- I am living longer, and yet do not know the effects this toxic medication has on my organs.
- Most of us suffer with depression and anxiety.
- My children wear my ribbon along with me, not by their own fault.
- You know the business cliche: "ABC" (Always Be Closing)? Well, for us, its ABE: we Always Be Educating ... unless we are living in silence.
- I swallow a lot of pills daily and my co-pays are rather high.
- I am grateful for life. MOST of the time. There's a real discipline to maintaining your health, with this virus.
- I must medicate at specific times (this may interrupt with dinner/breakfast/lunch times -- which may interfere with special functions, meetings, and such) -- and I suffer with gastrointestinal issues -- you may suffer too, if you are in the nearby vicinity, and I don't have my little bottle of Febreze.
- Does it sound like I am whining? Because I really am NOT. It just IS what it IS.
- I am a person living with HIV and face neuropathy in my lower legs.
- I am a person living with HIV -- and have heart problems.
I am a person living gratefully and intentionally with HIV.
I face these issues and more, but I do not face them alone. I have a wide community of supporters and allies, and friends, and I also have a very private close knit circle of people I trust with my deepest most painful issues.
Aside from being desirous of a relatively manageable life, I don't ask for much. What I do wish for is really dependent upon you:
- All I really want, is for YOU to get tested and know your status.
- All I want for YOU to do is protect yourself and others.
- And especially if you happen to be gay/bi-sexual males of color, all I want you to know -- is that GOD loves you ... no matter what anybody, any church, any other pastor says. Take care of yourselves.
There is a plethora of information about HIV on the Web ... but to start off, find out where you may get tested: HIV and STD testing locations in your area.
Read Pastor Andrena's blog Is the Ribbon Enough?