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HIV/AIDS Resource Center for the Newly Diagnosed
Enrique Raul Bernadette Fortunata Heidi Greg Jack Ahmad Lucia

Personal Story

The Miracles That Come After an HIV Diagnosis

Part of the Series Day One With HIV

September 29, 2014

For about two months, I had suffered from extreme fatigue and murderous headaches. Two flights of stairs would require four to five hours of rest. I had been an overactive child and was a bubbly woman. I was also depressive. But this time it was not the depression that was making me so tired, as I was faithful to my depression meds and knew what to do when.

I had been in a relationship with a violent, not-very-nice person for about a year. At 35, I was ready to take whatever came around. I cannot for the life of me explain why I thought to go for a HIV test before we started getting physical, and I never asked him to. It came back negative.

I went to the nearest hospital where I always got tested for malaria and typhoid. Negative for both. In the 90s in my country, unless you requested one, you had to look a certain way to get an HIV test. The doctor always told me I was not the type.

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I decided to travel to Nairobi where I could get a thorough medical test. First stop, the shrink, who suggested I get my heart tested as well as have a cranial MRI. Get some blood tests also. I was told to spend the night at the hospital. Sometime after midnight the lab technician came for another blood sample. I have a phobia of needles and I asked him to wait till the doctor came in because he was the only one I trusted to do it well. In an hour, the doctor was there. I still didn't panic.

Later that morning I was given a 50-mg tablet of Diflucan [generic name: fluconazole] and Combivir [a fixed-dose combination of zidovudine and lamivudine]. Apart from the fact they were the most expensive drugs I had ever come across, I also knew that they were related to HIV as I had developed pharmacy systems. I immediately called for the doctor who told me to just take them and that my shrink would pass by. My spouse came to visit me and started having a strange conversation about AIDS. Apparently, because I am depressive, I could not be told. The shrink came later and I asked, "Give me a 'yes' or 'no' answer, am I dying of AIDS?"

He stated that HIV being present in my body does not mean AIDS. That sounded like "yes" to me. I asked to be discharged. I could not talk. I was certain where it came from. There was no insurance for such a disease. I wrote three checks for treatment and two months of medicine. I went, packed myself and my baby, and left my baby with maternal relatives and then went back to work. In two months, I was feeling great, but I do not think it was possible to forget the cold grip around my heart when I realized what I had. Fourteen years down the line, I have a site that deals with all medical issues and I am a chronic illness volunteer. My son is 18 -- miracles do happen!

Want to share your own "Day One With HIV" story of finding out your diagnosis? Write out your story (1,000 words or fewer, please!), or film a YouTube video, and email it to editor@thebody.com. In the coming months, we'll be posting readers' "Day One" stories here in our HIV/AIDS Resource Center for the Newly Diagnosed. Read other stories in this series.



This article was provided by TheBody.com.
 
See Also
Day One With HIV: Finding Out Your Status, in Your Own Words
TheBody.com's HIV/AIDS Resource Center for the Newly Diagnosed
More "Just Diagnosed" Stories

 

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