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I'm Confused & I Want a Nobel Prize

Summer 1997

I attended the Women and HIV Conference in May and I must admit I don't feel any better for doing so. I am currently going through those HIV birthday blues. I am celebrating my fifth anniversary of being diagnosed HIV positive. I never thought I would be at this point.

I went into the conference with a very optimistic view. Because of God and his will, the Protease, along with other drugs, is working for me. I've been able to manage the time schedule, even though it's been difficult.

Most of the discussions at the conference were filled with scientific garble and sludge. One clinical doctor was the exception. He expressed that he was having scientific envy. Basically he wanted to speak in the highly technical language of the researchers. I have a medical background and I still felt left out with the research data presentations. There was never any mention of any significant change.


Eloquence

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I found the women AIDS activists to be especially informative and eloquent. I also found the promises by Maxine Waters quaint. I'm really glad she was there. I think that most people are afraid they will get AIDS just by breathing the same air we breathe. I felt that she was at least trying to be sincere. I was really able to understand Ms. Waters and I felt fully supported while she was speaking. Now all we have to do is wait and see if the promises were valid. Or instead of waiting, I truly urge all women to contact their congress person and let them know that we need and want more women-specific HIV/AIDS research.


My Nobel Prize

I am hoping maybe I'll receive a Nobel Prize for my next statement. I knew this before I went to the conference. Somebody should have called me.

I could have helped significantly. I am a woman, heterosexual, African American, a licensed professional and a Christian Fundamentalist. I made that particular discovery, a long time ago. So where is my Nobel Prize? Maybe it's in the mail. If it reaches your mailbox before mine, please give me a call, because I know it must be lost in the mail.

I spoke with a good friend of mine about the language being used. Her comment was that the women need to learn the technical terms. I agree that we must educate ourselves, but I also believe there needs to be some kind of compromise.

In defense of the conference, most of the presenters were scientists not plain old regular doctors. I think I understand why these people spend so much time in the lab, looking through a microscope. I sincerely believe they have an inability to relate to real people, and understand how HIV and AIDS affects our lives.


Discontented & Torn

I felt very discontented and torn. I am a health care professional and my doctors say I have AIDS. I don't want my colleagues to know I have the virus and I didn't want my sisters to think that I didn't want to be apart of them and what they stood up for. I'm confused and I don't know what to do.


Dilemma

I know this may not sound like much of a dilemma to you, but it is to me. I am definitely in the closet about my status and I am confused about what to do. I am currently unable to practice my profession, but if I were able, I would not want to hear: "She has AIDS, do you want her to care for you?" Mind you, I saw this same situation on ER last week, and I was not a happy camper. I now live two lives and the pressure is starting to get to me. The ignorance of my colleagues is deplorable and I have grown tired of their insensitive remarks and persistent glares. There are not many who realize that this place I'm in, could easily be them. It is my desire that people show some kind of compassion in their explanations and treatment of HIV and AIDS.


Highlight

I have to admit that there was one highlight in the conference. And that is the bonding with my sisters living with HIV and AIDS. I was not able to march with my sisters as they protested about the CURE and WHO IS IT FOR? I was not able to participate in the press conference, nor was I willing to be photographed or video taped. I felt that this kept me away from my sisters. But I felt that my secret must be kept for a little while longer.


Comfort

In these five years that I have hidden in my closet, I have never really been comfortable with my status. This conference brought me closer to a sister and she, without knowing, has empowered me to feel better about my status and my self. I hope that other women will find some level of comfort that comes with coming to terms with an HIV positive status.



  
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This article was provided by Women Alive. It is a part of the publication Women Alive Newsletter.
 
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