The Benefits of Living With HIV
November 15, 2010
For our World AIDS Day 2010 section, we wanted to capture the diversity of the AIDS community. So, we reached out to people across the world -- mostly those who have never written for us before -- and asked them to guest blog. These columns are written by people who are living with HIV, have been affected by HIV, or work in the field.
There is a lot of negativity and heaviness when talking about HIV. People rarely get to hear the positivity and the beauty of living with this disease. So I want to provide a different side of the dialogue around the epidemic and talk about the benefits of living with HIV. Since my diagnosis a little over two years ago, I have seen so many positive changes that I would not have otherwise recognized at this point in my life. As crazy as this may sound, I have gotten to a place where I know I am lucky to be living with HIV.
Benefit No. 1: Clarity.
Every day since my diagnosis, I have gained more clarity. Who I am. What I want in life. What is most important to me. Who is most important to me. What I want in a friend. What I want in a life partner. My goals. My dreams. My present. My future.
All of it continues to become so clear. Suddenly that cliché of living every day like it is your last is resonating with me. If I really had just this one day to live, I would want to live it with purpose, with stability, and with passion.The small stuff -- the daily drama and the bullshit -- does not get to me like it used to. It is a breath of fresh air to have more of this inner peace.
Benefit No. 2: What I Stand For.
What is interesting about living with HIV is that it impacts you in different ways as you change and as your life changes. HIV has a tendency to blindside me when I thought I had a part of my process figured out. Lo and behold, it comes back -- incarnated -- with a bigger bite than before. Each time I get that bite, I tackle it and the parts of my life that it affects. In doing so, I become more grounded, more planted into the earth, more rooted, and more confident in what I stand for and why. I am extremely thankful and blessed to have supportive people who foster a safe space where I can explore and develop myself.
Benefit No. 3: Spirituality.
In the past two years I have really looked to the Higher Powers. In my healing process, I've come to terms with mortality. It is a fact that I am living with a chronic disease and it is a fact that my body will decay and return to the earth no matter how well I take care of myself. Reacting to these facts, I am in such awe of each human being's role in the grand scheme of things. It is a dose of humility. I am a fleeting blink of an eye in this universe, I don't have all the answers, and I am OK with that. I am OK with surrendering.
Benefit No. 4: The Perfect Filter.
Thank you HIV for being the PERFECT filter. Because of you I refuse to invest in people who do not love and appreciate me for me. Because of you I have been introduced to phenomenal people and everyday heroes I would not have met otherwise. Because of you I know that I have rights to knowledge, rights to speak out and be heard, rights to be respected, rights to have love, rights to have hot sex, and rights to have as many children as I want. Because of you I continue to develop true and real human relationships with my family and my friends. Because of you I have found a beautiful support system. Because of you my definition of "success" has become more robust. Because of you I cut down on spending time and energy on the shit that life can hand you. Because of you I know I have no limits.
For me, HIV is one of the best things that ever happened to me. My process continues to be difficult as I make choices and life decisions as an HIV-positive Asian woman in her very early 20s. However, through my diagnosis I have become empowered. I have found a voice and a blissful urge to live.
This article was provided by TheBody.com.
Comment by: Favor
Thu., Jun. 9, 2016 at 6:05 am UTC
So exiting to know about the positive parts of being HIV,
Comment by: Chocolate
(New Orleans, La)
Thu., Jan. 17, 2013 at 5:32 pm UTC
I loved this post and it is very true, I have left alot of people alone and only accept people who accept me for ME
Comment by: PozLyfe09
Tue., Sep. 6, 2011 at 9:45 am UTC
I love this blog
Comment by: Gail
Wed., Dec. 22, 2010 at 3:37 am UTC
thank you. I needed this sooooooooooo much
Comment by: lae 20's fem
Sun., Dec. 12, 2010 at 7:49 pm UTC
Thank you for this article. You spoke volumes and planted hope
Comment by: Frank
Sat., Dec. 11, 2010 at 11:44 am UTC
Great post.I salute you.
I have the exact same feelings and glad to know there are other pozzies out there who think the same way.
Comment by: Shanti
Sat., Dec. 4, 2010 at 4:10 am UTC
thanks for such an inspiring post! Love it! Will be a year next January when I tested postive at 23wks pregnant! I went through a period of shock and devastation that I couldn't even keep food down and needed to be hospitalized! But the clouds did part and sun finally came thorugh. 11months on I have a healthy beautiful negative baby and life is really good all round. I am not yet on meds as my numbers are very good! I have a renewed energy and sense of purpose and I feel I am at choice what i focus on. I can spend time focusing on what HIV has taken away from me or focusing on what I have gained because of it. For me its more of the latter and I am just thankful everyday to be making lemonade out of my so called lemons. Nobody really knows how long anyone will live for and so as long as I am here I will live my best life everyday for myself and my daughter! Hiv has been a life changing moment but for me its helped me prioritise what I spend my energies on and what isn't worth my time. It is well! Thanks again for the post. I look forward to reading more from you in the future. Namaste!
Comment by: Mt.Madness
Fri., Dec. 3, 2010 at 11:19 am UTC
Before pouring some of my words, I would like to thankyou from my heart for such a novel writing and your possitivity !! Please keep up the same strength for ever ! God will bring all the happiness in your door steap !
I have been diagnosis hiv+ for more than 14 years now ! I just got this web address yesterday and your artical is the first I ever read here on this site. I am very pleased and happy to read your lines !! It's awesome,everything you said its all true. Good luck on your bright future.
Comment by: Anne W.
Thu., Dec. 2, 2010 at 7:36 am UTC
I tested +ve this year n stil in denial.i have not bin able to adhere to treatment.pliz assit
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Comment by: Henry
Fri., Dec. 3, 2010 at 11:41 am UTC
Anne, if yo are able to access treatment and meds, please do so. Adherence is so important. We can lead normal lives but proper adherence is what will prevent the virus from developing resistance. Big hug to you.
Comment by: garry
Sat., Dec. 4, 2010 at 12:58 pm UTC
hi anne -
first of all, i commend you for taking the step to publicly admit your hiv status. are you on medication regularly? and what are you finding so hard about adhering to your treatment? everyone that has posted on here is a special soul, because they can freely come to grips with hiv. good or bad, we have to take it one day at a time. every day is a gift, both to ourselves and to the ones that love us.
Comment by: Shanti
Sat., Dec. 4, 2010 at 5:20 pm UTC
Please email me ... if you at anytime need someone to lend an ear! God bless. Take care! It is well! It shall be well...x
Comment by: Olivia Ford
Mon., Dec. 6, 2010 at 7:58 pm UTC
Hi! I'm TheBody.com's community manager. Anne (original commenter), Shanti wants to make her/his personal e-mail address available to you; while I can't leave a commenter's personal e-mail on a comment, per our Comments Policy, you can get in touch with me, Anne, at email@example.com, and I'll send you Shanti's e-mail address. I know it's a few steps, but I want to get you two connected if you like. :-)
Best of luck to all!
Comment by: Anonymous
Thu., Dec. 2, 2010 at 2:57 am UTC
Advantages of living with HIV? ONE MAY ASK, Well, it happened to me too, but in my case, a boyfriend died of Aids, I was really shocked because I didn't know that he was positve. After a year i tested negative though I had promised myself never to infect anyone if I tested positive. I have alltogether changed and focused my life to my only creator, God almighty. I believe this was a devine intervention.
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Comment by: Chris
(St louis, mo)
Wed., Dec. 15, 2010 at 4:27 pm UTC
I'm sure the hundreds of thousands who've died, and the millions who are infected, are greatful to know that He favors you above so many others.
Comment by: sean
Wed., Dec. 1, 2010 at 1:30 pm UTC
Your statement gave me a major ahhh haaaaa moment
Comment by: Garry
Wed., Dec. 1, 2010 at 12:45 am UTC
I will be the first to admit, HIV was not in my list of Top 100 Things Before I Die. I was diagnosed HIV+ the day my best friend passed away due to AIDS complications. I have learned to accept the fact that no matter how bad my life gets, it could always be worse. An essential key for me was learning to love myself again. To not be defined by my status, but by who I am as a person. The same person I was before HIV. People have been amazed by my strength and endurance over the last year and a half since my diagnosis. I REFUSE to let it run my life, and I CAN live4 a normal, healthy, happy life. Once you let it get the better of you mentally, it will ultimately get the better of you physically. All I can do is try and educate others, help them see that I am no more of a threat than someone with, let's say, Diabetes. I live every day of my life grateful for the day that passed, and hopeful for the day to come. If you ever think your life is over, it just may be. Be Strong! Be Positive! But most of all, know that there ARE people out there that love you, just the way you are! And I encourage anyone that can not handle their diagnosis, or if you feel like you are alone in the world and no one understands what you are going through, to please contact me. I will do what I can to help you through this, as others have helped me. Love to you all!
Comment by: liz
Tue., Nov. 30, 2010 at 12:17 am UTC
Thanks for outlining the benefits of being HIV positive. You have just affirmed it and encouraged me thank you and God bless you.
Comment by: uh sure
Tue., Nov. 30, 2010 at 12:14 am UTC
As someone who had all of the things listed in this article, from clarity to the perfect filter before my diagnosis, I can say that hiv is awful. I'm glad you've found your path. But not everyone needs to be infected with a virus that, if left unchecked, would kill them.
By my estimates, living for the next 30 years will cost me a minimum of $100,000. I won't even begin to touch on the subject of being a straight man living in the US with hiv. I've pretty much been accused of being a closet homosexual by the only 2 gay men at the County Health Dept.
I don't believe in wallowing in self pity because of my disease. But at the same time, singing its praises is just... I'll save my opinion.
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Comment by: Taryn
(Kansas City, Mo)
Wed., Dec. 1, 2010 at 10:00 am UTC
It's hard isn't it. I figured out that I wouldn't die immediately, which was good. However, I am a minister that found out three years ago. I was accused of everything from prostitution to drug abuse by the County Health Department. Thank God I had medical insurance through my job and was able to see an infectious disease doctor that treated me with respect. I had never been guilty of any of the things that the Health Dept accused me of except loving someone so much that I allowed him to bring it home to me. Him and I are no longer together and I feel like you. I will not wallow in self-pity and I live, I enjoy my life, I enjoy my new grandchild, and I enjoy being me.
Comment by: chris
Tue., Jan. 31, 2012 at 11:51 am UTC
It is such a shame that in some areas things are still like this, but through people with attitudes like this and lessening ignorance over time as people begin to understand more and more about how this can happen to anyone even those who are chaste is the key for showing this disease for what it is, and aside from $ issues which there are so many programs and people willing to help, the medications now adays make this only a chronic illness and allow it to not become anything more than that. To me, hiv was a blessing, I'm 19 and I was so lost, this helped me realize that even with something as serious as this, my life is still too perfect and I'm still too healthy and this is nothing compared to the things others have to deal with and I am so ucky to have people by my side so supportive and willing to help. I will pray for you and I hope you can learn to feel differently because letting this get in the way is more damaging than the disease itself. As for the article, you are so strong and inspiring, and its people like you who can help as you alreadi have by the amount of responses to your article. Let's beat this thing, and the cure is not too far in the distance.
Comment by: Cee
Mon., Nov. 29, 2010 at 11:38 am UTC
LOVE THIS ARTICLE!
Comment by: mj
Mon., Nov. 29, 2010 at 6:42 am UTC
nice to hear a positive story. i am hiv positive but i am not hiv x
Comment by: Rob
Mon., Nov. 29, 2010 at 3:39 am UTC
This disease is life changing to everyone, not mattering where we were in our lives when we were diagnosed. It hits hard; always; everybody. I disapprove about people alleging that their case is worse than others in efforts to criticize good intentioned bloggers about how they are coping with the disease. Life is tough for most of us and it is indeed tougher for others. Most of us in this forum will probably not die from hiv but will die with hiv. We may not be able to change many aspects of our lives; however our lives are worth to be lived fully. Let us be more optimistic. We are all entitled to wish for, pursue and achieve happiness. All of us. I applaud the author's efforts and wish her well.
Comment by: john
Sun., Nov. 28, 2010 at 8:23 am UTC
really? good for you, but try disclosing your status in china, or some wrong part of the US where they will criminalize you and in some cases, get their shotguns out in the middle of the night and drag you out of your house. they like to "filter" people infected with this disease. to some who has been through hell and hate living with this disease, it is hard to see perspective from it. perhaps it is time we stop painting a pretty rainbow kilt about this disease and start showing what it really does and instigate. let's not make hide the fact that it creates hate and puts us in a bell jar that longed to be cracked. do not fool yourselves into believing that you will wake up one day and everyone will just see how insightful and brave you are. by painting this pretty picture, you are empowering people to look away from the ugly side of what this disease does to people.
Comment by: michael
Sun., Nov. 28, 2010 at 8:13 am UTC
as a greeting card company is to holidays as big pharma is to hiv infectected peeps.....try to create a pretty picture so you forget the bigger picture....all about the money. as pretty as one can paint it, the reality is finding a cure is slow and it is very expensive to try to stay alive to maintain that "pretty benefits". that lax attitude is a drug company's dream come true.
Comment by: tasha
Sat., Nov. 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm UTC
well guys i don't feel that hiv is a positive thing in my life.Its been 3yrs now and trust me it weighs me down big time sometimes. I haven't told my relatives apart from my partner and i don't think i will ever get the courage to tell then especially my kids. How am managing is by god's grace. anyway good for you at least you have come to terms wiv it
Comment by: robert
(palm springs ca)
Fri., Nov. 26, 2010 at 11:56 pm UTC
great writing and perspective. 30 years of living w/ IT & CONSTANTLY forced 2 growNadapt has been A GREAT LIFE. Peace&GOOD HEALTH 2 YOU
Comment by: Michael
Fri., Nov. 26, 2010 at 7:33 pm UTC
What a great article. I have noticed that I am less responsive to many things that used to set me off too. I now have bigger concerns, harder issues to deal with. This article made me realize that. Thank you. Keep up all the positivity!!
Comment by: Richard
Thu., Nov. 25, 2010 at 1:36 pm UTC
Post HIV, I've achieved a spiritual epiphany. My goals in life have been altered and my perspective has changed. I'm relatively free of the avarice, jealousy and insecurity which once plagued me. I'm closer to my partner and family than I ever thought possible. More than ever before, I don't care what other people think. I don't know how ANYONE can walk away from a positive result with corporate ladder-climbing or a larger home on their agenda. Its all good and well to say that something else could have instigated this change, but honestly, nothing else would have. Still, I wonder if the author is trying a little too hard to find a bright side to her infection. To be certain, HIV is NOT anautomatic awakening, it is a fatal virus which needs to be cured ASAP. Framing it in terms of the psychological benefits it provides seems a disservice to the millions who will die from it, or its implications for our own long term well being. We should be greatful for the perspective it provides. We should be greatful that we have the ability to find that perspective. To be certain, we should never be greatful for the virus.
Comment by: lan
Thu., Nov. 25, 2010 at 1:02 pm UTC
very touching. very inspiring. :)
Comment by: BD
Thu., Nov. 25, 2010 at 12:21 pm UTC
I wouldn't go so far as to say that HIV is the best thing that has happened to me - it can-not be the best thing that can happen to anyone. What you are trying to say is, that the new-found spirituality & positivity is the best thing that happened to you and I agree with that, but, my friend, there are many ways for this to happen, HIV is not the ideal route to this destination, isn't it? HIV does put a lot of limitations & restrictions to my life and I can-not lie & say that I do not wish that I was HIV negative. I do.
But, having said this, I do-not agree with all those people here who are down in the dumps because they are HIV positive. Hey guys! If you feel so negative about this condition, can you blame the world for looking down upon it ? Wake up! What did you expect? that life would be a bed of roses and you would NEVER have an illness ? So - some people have diabetes, some cancer (which is much worse, as you know), some die from accidents... need I go on ?
Stop feeling sorry, stop feeling like a victim and take charge of your life.. respect & love yourself enough to see how beautiful life is, HIV or no HIV.
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Comment by: Alan
Fri., Nov. 26, 2010 at 10:40 am UTC
Oh please... just because I'm not putting HIV on a pedestal as the path to enlightenment doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mean I or anybody else is feeling sorry for themselves, for me id just rather go to work an get on with life (the good bad and ugly bits) than sit around light a joystick and contemplate the joy's of HIV.
And as for the condescending sermon to all those people who aren't clapping there hands with delight at being infected and feel down in the dumps; truth is your passing judgement when you have know idea about what they may or may not have suffered as HIV is not a one glove fits all kind of disease. Those people are perfectly entitled to feel how they feel without your patronising comments on how to buck up and take charge of their lives!
Comment by: BD
Sat., Nov. 27, 2010 at 12:11 pm UTC
Hey Alan! Do read your earlier post again - full of negativity & self pity.. so don't deny it & if you call my post patronising, then I just feel sorry for you - please go back to feeling sorry for yourself and despising this 'disease' etc., etc., Oh and by the way, HIV is NOT A DISEASE, I am surprised that you don't know that, even though you have the condition ?
Comment by: Alan
Mon., Nov. 29, 2010 at 3:56 am UTC
Negativity towards the VIRUS yes but self pity I don't think so, you mistake my comments which act as an opposing conjecture to the statement of "The Benefits of Living With HIV" and you sure are bossy in telling people how they feel, don't deny it your self! I could read the same negativity into your comments, and I feel just as sorry for you for being so judgemental of others.
Comment by: Alan
Thu., Nov. 25, 2010 at 4:21 am UTC
Have I woken up in some parallel universe “hiv is the best thing that’s happened to me” are you nuts!
I despise everything about this disease, it has taken the lives of my friends, isolated me from my family and ruined the wonderful life I had, and there is nothing beautiful about this vile enemy within that has wiped millions off the face of the earth.
Replies to this comment:
Comment by: londonjock
Sat., Nov. 27, 2010 at 6:12 pm UTC
I agree m8 I was infected by my partner of 3 yrs who failed to tell me he was HIV and for the last 2 yrs since I was diagnosed has been a living hell,a hell I fight everyday not to take my own life and end the misery it has caused me. I have lost everything and struggle to get the mental support I need here in London I have been discriminated against for not being black African, a woman, not being a youth and not being elderly or the best of all is not having the right post code, I have no job and struggle every week to hold on to my Â£50 benefits although being 43 and never claimed anything before, I now have no housing and wonder from hostel to hostel, and told I am not a priority. I cant even get council ling unless I make a Â£10 donation. Ive been celibate for the whole time and cant even look at myself in the mirror to look at my waisting face. I have had 5 sexual partners in a life time 3 of which were long term relationships. F**k embracing it, thats not the message we need to be sending out to anyone.If your having sex then you are at risk and don't think that just because your in a relationship the risk is removed. This is the message that needs to be sent.
Comment by: Anonymous
Thu., Nov. 25, 2010 at 1:24 am UTC
thank you for these words of encourgment
Comment by: Mike
Wed., Nov. 24, 2010 at 11:57 pm UTC
I suppose everyone is entitled to whatever they need to get through the day, but... after 20 yrs of dealing w/it (including nursing a partner through his last agonizing 18 months) I am not thankful or grateful for HIV. It has not made my life richer, and I will never agree that it is "one of the best things" to ever happen to me. I think you can maintain a positive outlook and enjoy life without pulling that much wool over your eyes!!
Comment by: ic
Wed., Nov. 24, 2010 at 4:48 pm UTC
I guess that I am just to new in my diagnosis to appreciate this article.
I have lost so much that it is going over my head.
Comment by: Brown
Wed., Nov. 24, 2010 at 4:41 pm UTC
Thank You so much.
Comment by: Jeff
Wed., Nov. 24, 2010 at 2:14 pm UTC
I read your column two days ago and thought you were delusional. I have had a tough time after my diagnosis; adapting has not been easy. However, the words you wrote stayed with me and today, while I was walking my dog, some of them still resounded. I ended up feeling good about myself. I must admit that not all has been bad. Some aspects of my life are indeed better and altogether I feel that I have become a better person. I may even be happier than I ever was before... When I received my diagnosis I told to my doctor that I was not scared of dying; that my real fear was of living (with hiv). It is time for me to review the reasons for my my fears and tears, and to snap out of them. Thank you. Write again.
Comment by: Victor
Tue., Nov. 23, 2010 at 11:34 pm UTC
You rock girl.!For what you have written I can see a wise soul...Blessings & Love
Comment by: cliff b
(indian head md)
Tue., Nov. 23, 2010 at 3:05 pm UTC
first of all i would like to thank you for the moral support and im looking forward to possibly meeting you.keep up the good words
Comment by: Esteban
(Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Tue., Nov. 23, 2010 at 10:09 am UTC
Thanks for your words, it helps me a lot.
Comment by: Richard
Mon., Nov. 22, 2010 at 11:25 pm UTC
Wow, well I really appreciate this, I can relate to a great deal of it !! Congratulations for your very unconventional views !!
Comment by: Anonymous
Mon., Nov. 22, 2010 at 8:14 pm UTC
hiv doesnt have benefits
Comment by: Jm
Mon., Nov. 22, 2010 at 5:42 pm UTC
That's really amazing, I feel the same way, sometimes it feels like I'm a totally different person. I look at everything in a positive way. Thanks
Comment by: Anonymous
Mon., Nov. 22, 2010 at 5:19 pm UTC
Comment by: Steve
Mon., Nov. 22, 2010 at 11:39 am UTC
Hey... I was very encouraged by your blog! It's good to know people who are living with HIV and having such a strong and positive outlook! Keep it up.
Comment by: fattyg23
Sun., Nov. 21, 2010 at 1:54 am UTC
your word touched my heart.! I'm a 23 proud mother of six. Lost my site for a sec but came to terms with our new reality and hope my offspring and and loved ones can do the same . you stay strong. cause your engry just held me
Comment by: Ibrahim
Sat., Nov. 20, 2010 at 8:37 am UTC
I'm quite thrilled with this post. It really touches and gladden my heart to know and believe that been HIV is not the end of life or a death sentence. Personally being positive has made me to be closer to my family and to the fact that whether we are positive or negative we are always in transition: birth-living-death, whether we like it or not.
I now have more right attitude and perspective towards my life. Thank You
Comment by: Vickie L
Sat., Nov. 20, 2010 at 8:25 am UTC
Thank you for your wonderful insight and positive messages.
Comment by: Naima
Fri., Nov. 19, 2010 at 1:30 pm UTC
Thank you it's true living with hiv you benefit,surely i have.
Comment by: Florence
Fri., Nov. 19, 2010 at 11:57 am UTC
DAILY DRAMA - yeah, there is a way small matter just can no longer get to you...how right !!! It's like you tell yourself..'if I have THE HIV, so then what else can be so terrible to upset me ever?'..nothing.
HIV truly gives one back the clarity and focus...HIV has benefits..
Comment by: David A
Fri., Nov. 19, 2010 at 10:18 am UTC
Thanks you so much, I feel the same and its good to hear others who have turned what can be advserity into a strength and evolve to a higher place. Much more love and happiness to come your way...when you love yourself and know that you deserve and are worthy of love. The true love will attract to you and express itself through all who surround you. Be Blessed
Comment by: eugene
Fri., Nov. 19, 2010 at 9:34 am UTC
i've live with this more than 20 years and it's refreshing to know someone knows what i've felt and can express it in a way that has only been in my thoughts in so little amount of time. the best of things are ahead of you. gene
Comment by: Empowered
Fri., Nov. 19, 2010 at 7:47 am UTC
You are an inspiration to every positive person in this world. I am touched by your sensitivity and powerful view towards all the things that really matter. You're absolutely right.. .clarity, spirituality and making use of this illness as a perfect filter add meaning to our lives in the most profound way.
It was so refreshing to read such a positive powerful view. Thank you,
Comment by: EDUARDO
Fri., Nov. 19, 2010 at 7:28 am UTC
No estoy de acuerdo,si bien esta enfermedad nos hace tener otro tipo de vision,en mi caso mejoro,seria mucho mejor vivir sin ella.un abrazo.
Comment by: IM
Fri., Nov. 19, 2010 at 3:33 am UTC
Beautiful piece! I am HIV negative but did not realise that someone positive can look at the brighter side of the coin. The virtues highlighted in the article perfectly apply to everyone. When one reads such an article, you are tempted to reflect upon your life whether positive or negative. We have taken life for granted!
Comment by: Blupixi
Fri., Nov. 19, 2010 at 1:01 am UTC
It's nice to know I am not the only one who thinks this way. Most people look at me as if I've lost my mind when I mention the positive sides of being positive. I have learned so much about myself, other people, and the world of medicine that I would have never known if my life had gone differently.
Comment by: Lee T
Thu., Nov. 18, 2010 at 10:09 pm UTC
I always try to look on the bright side of things and keep a positive attitude, but until I read this blog I did not ever think there were benefits of living with HIV. I have believed in and practiced many of the same things as You stated in Your blog each day since my diagnosis in 1985, but never saw them as benefits, just my survival instinct.
NOW, after reading the blog and taking a moment and pausing my thoughts, I now realize there are some benefits to living with HIV. I suppose when You spend a majority of your time in depression and isolation it is kind of difficult to see the bright side. Thank you for opening my eyes and thoughts - I just never considered how I felt about having HIV as being a benefit.
Comment by: Geoffrey G.
Thu., Nov. 18, 2010 at 9:31 pm UTC
I help to run a HIV support group in church. While I was preparing for the coming 2010 WAD Service, I asked the members for their inputs.
One of them shared that he has learnt to give thanks for his infection. The Bible teaches the Christians to give thanks in ALL circumstances but for HIV? Not an easy thing to do!
It takes a lot of courage and faith. More importantly a lot of love, from people around him and from God, that has been poured into his life!
Another guy shared that he has gone back to the person who has infected him knowingly, to remind him the importance of early treatment. While he did not really use the phrase "I forgive him", I sense he has grown to find a bigger perspective, a higher order of things around him. He has given himself FREEDOM!
Comment by: Douglas
Thu., Nov. 18, 2010 at 6:06 pm UTC
It's been two years for me too. I don't imagine I'll ever feel "lucky" about this, but I'd like to think that, as a consequence of it, I'm on my way to becoming a more forgiving, a more grateful and generally a more caring person.
I try not to dwell on being poz, however, as I don't want that to come to define me. For me, the physical and financial effects have been non-existent. I guess the lucky part for me is that life goes on, basically as it did before.
Good luck to you, Anonymous. You sound like a very nice person and the kind of woman who makes me wish I were lesbian. :)
Comment by: Paul
Thu., Nov. 18, 2010 at 5:41 pm UTC
Really refreshing to hear from like minded people sharing HIV. The support group that I started attending this year is predominantly made up of people that are looking only at the negatives. I feel like a lone voice trying to shine a torch on the positives and flicking the negatives the two finger salute.
I will be bringing this blog and the comments to the next meeting to share with the group. I hope that hearing the number of positive views will inspire others to look at this relationship for all of the positive aspects that it brings. And the negative side......well it can jog on!
Comment by: john
Thu., Nov. 18, 2010 at 5:02 pm UTC
Great opinion and i recognise a lot of the remarks and want to add one. My health is monitored every 3 months or half year. This is not given to people without hiv.
Comment by: Steven
(San Francisco Bay Area)
Thu., Nov. 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm UTC
Living with AIDS is definately not fun, easy or great! To be avoided at all costs.
After almost 30 years of living with this disease I have definately developed an appreciation for the benefits of living. Waking up is the first benefit, the adventure of your day is another, learning something new each day is awesome and should definately be a goal. Recognizing the beauty around you.
Big attitude adjustments happen when you choose to simplify your life, strip it down to the bare bones and really live it fully without adding or allowing others to add drama stress or luggage to your journey.
When you choose to live/survive with this disease you recognize that your body, the medications, and the disease are going to give you enough crap. If you are smart you stop creating your own or letting others involve you in theirs and you actually start cleaning up your act by taking care of yourself. Nutritious food, medication and vitamins on a steady regimen, exercise and occupy yourself with any occupation that gives you purpose and fullfilment.
If you are fortunate you will attract others who have done the same in their lives or are working on it.
Don't be fooled, everyone gets knocked down by the disease or side effects usually many times. It is how you learn to cope and get back to a new normal that matters.
It is very inspiring that you have found these positive points of being poz and can communicate them so well. Best to you.
Comment by: Saad A
(Falls Church, VA)
Thu., Nov. 18, 2010 at 3:24 pm UTC
WoW! First of all, I am so thankful for such a humility and thoughtfulness that has touched me deep down. As I was reading through your touching message, my eyes teared with emotion and I felt so blessed. I could fully relate to the thoughts put into this touching list. So much in life has become clear to me, as well, that I would not have known if I was not living with HIV. Every morning I wake up I say, to myself, "Thank God," for every breath he has awarded me with is a true blessing from our creator.
Comment by: joker60
Thu., Nov. 18, 2010 at 3:04 pm UTC
Thats what I like to hear because there is a POSITIVE side(no pun intnd) to living with this virus.You just have to keep a positive attitude and as I say let the virus live with you and you not live with the virus.
Comment by: Lisa
Thu., Nov. 18, 2010 at 2:45 pm UTC
Couldn't have put it better! And you will find, those beliefs will only crystalize further when you have lived with HIV for 19 years, as I have. Actually, I now say that HIV has to live with ME!
Comment by: John
Thu., Nov. 18, 2010 at 2:31 pm UTC
Comment by: toti p
Thu., Nov. 18, 2010 at 2:25 pm UTC
I get daily mails on living with HIV and read as many of them as possible I do not know anyone else with HIV except the cow who gave it to me and the others she gave it to, but feel the same as you! I am not gratefull
as of yet but will one day be there but I do see the + changes it has made and i'm grateful that I had the strength to not do what I always said I'd do if I ended up +... To read that there are ppl out there, maximising they're time on this earth makes me want to do the same.
As for a love life and passionate sex well? I just lost a really good girl cuz she could not see a future as she wants kids etc. Which is possible but not to her I guess so I see ur point on the filter!
If anyone could point me in the direction of a support group in Johannesburg then please do. I think I need to meet some success stories in person. Not only to join the fight, but also find a friend who won't hug me and look to the side when they do.
Well done to you
Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Falo
Thu., Nov. 25, 2010 at 1:38 am UTC
Hi Toti P
I discovered my status 3 years and 2 months ago. My soon-to-be ex-husband gave it to me. But I hold no grudges - no use crying over spilt milk. It's been a journey for me; from being completely overwhelmed by my diagnosis, to now even forgetting that I have it. I have two beautiful daughters (whom I haven't had the courage to tell about my status). I know Joburg is far from Maseru, but I have been wishing to connect with people in similar situations; people who would intuitively understand my situation - someone to hug without them looking to the side! So, if you like, we can be pen-pals.
Comment by: Scott
Thu., Nov. 18, 2010 at 2:12 pm UTC
You are out of your f*cking mind. Hope you enjoy HUGE bills associated with the cost of meds alone. Not to mention you can kiss retirement out the window.
Comment by: Lee
Thu., Nov. 18, 2010 at 2:09 pm UTC
This beautifully captures all of the emotions I have come to feel as I have dealt with HIV since 1993. I am happier than I have ever been, despite of, or maybe because of, my diagnosis. I also would note that yoga, which I have been actively practicing for the last 3 years, has also been a blessing. Namaste, and I wish you much continued happiness!
Replies to this comment:
Comment by: anonymus
Thu., Nov. 25, 2010 at 2:22 am UTC
Namaste,i am also in the same position as you.Im not rich and can not afford medication for ever.But i refuse to let this alien infest and destroy my body and soul.Take this simple advise and pray from the deepest recesses of your heart to Shree Sathya Sai Baba,seek forgiveness from all and be very sincere.HE will answer you.
When HE does you will see the results.then pass this on to all who are affected and all must change in all respects of all's attitude.LOVE all and be KIND to all.Be compassionate and do charitable work (SEWA).Thank you.AUM SAI RAM
Comment by: Dave
Wed., Nov. 17, 2010 at 10:47 pm UTC
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