My Life With the Virus
That treatment helped me beat the odds because I am still here able to tell my story and use my life to show people what living with the virus means. It’s a way to warn them that HIV is no joke. It’s a disease people don’t want to experience.
Yes I was born with AIDS, but this sameÃÂ‚Ã‚Â diseaseÃÂ‚Ã‚Â I was born with that almost killed me more than once is the sameÃÂ‚Ã‚Â diseaseÃÂ‚Ã‚Â you can contract if you don’t know the ways you can contract HIV.ÃÂ‚Ã‚Â
I remember being at aÃÂ‚Ã‚Â conference and training program and hearing about a group of people called “bug chasers.” These are people who want to become infected with HIV/AIDS forÃÂ‚Ã‚Â the benefits. Then there are the people who say to me, “When I look at you andÃÂ‚Ã‚Â Magic Johnson, I think that if all I have to do it pop a pill and I’ll be OK, why be safe? Why know my status?”
My question to these people and others is, Have we really made life with AIDS seem so easy?
Once again, I’ll say, I was born with AIDS. But I don’t think I will ever get used to living my life with the virus.
I started blogging to try and reach young people and bring more awareness about HIV/AIDS to them through the Internet. Why? Because, let’s face it, kids are always online.
As time passed, my blogging grew into something really big, I had no idea so many people cared about or wanted to hear what I have to say. So, while I have your attention, please share these blogs I’m writing with your family, friends and co-workers.
In June, the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic in the United States, I’ll be 27. Even though I have been on pills since age five, I still have side effects from taking these meds. I’ll never get used to waking up sick. And, no, itÃÂ‚Ã‚Â doesn’tÃÂ‚Ã‚Â happen every day, but it happens more often than I’d like.
My new battle is trying to figure out how I will continue to get these life-saving medications I take. At the end of this month, my health coverage runs out.ÃÂ‚Ã‚Â I know people have watched me grow up on TV, but no I am not rich and these medications are not cheap. With over 5000 people on the ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program), how can I not worry?
Now, more then ever, we need more AIDSÃÂ‚Ã‚Â awarenessÃÂ‚Ã‚Â events becauseÃÂ‚Ã‚Â prevention is key. If you are a taxpayer, you should really support HIV/AIDS prevention andÃÂ‚Ã‚Â awareness programs. Who do you think pays for theÃÂ‚Ã‚Â medical care of those living with AIDS?
In my own state, we are not allowed in the schools to speak about HIV/AIDS. But I think the schools should be the second place our youth learn about HIV/AIDS. Where’s the first place? Their homes!
While there is no cure for HIV, the virus is preventable, and a massive weapon we have in the fightÃÂ‚Ã‚Â againstÃÂ‚Ã‚Â HIV/AIDS is our voice.
The thing is, we cannot stop talking about HIV/AIDS--although many of us have grownÃÂ‚Ã‚Â silent and we areÃÂ‚Ã‚Â OKÃÂ‚Ã‚Â with the way things are.
I truly feel bad for this generationÃÂ‚Ã‚Â becauseÃÂ‚Ã‚Â they did not grow up with the reality of HIV/AIDS. They did not see the people dropping like flies, and they don’t know the face of death that many of us witnessed.
As fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters, I thinkÃÂ‚Ã‚Â we have failed today’s youth. We also forgot--we’ve forgotten to protect, to care and to talk about HIV/AIDS.
I remember growing up with so muchÃÂ‚Ã‚Â HIV/AIDS awareness on TV, in music and in magazines. It was almost as if it was a rite of passage to know your HIV status. If weÃÂ‚Ã‚Â continue to let people become infected with HIV at the rate they are becoming infected, what does that say about us as aÃÂ‚Ã‚Â society?ÃÂ‚Ã‚Â
You don’t have to be rich orÃÂ‚Ã‚Â famousÃÂ‚Ã‚Â to put together an HIV/AIDS awareness event. These events can take place at your church, school or community center. All you need isÃÂ‚Ã‚Â motivation andÃÂ‚Ã‚Â the desire to make a change!
It starts with one person; YOU!