Durham NC has its share of problems however so does any state, whether it be the east coast, west coast or somewhere in the middle. I myself have lived all over the country, have seen the different attitudes of different places and have experience ups and downs throughout my life. If one place seems to be better, it is a guarantee that that place will have an impact on your life and quality of existence. HIV is just another wrench thrown in the mix. It can make a person stop in their tracks and upset the delicate balance of life. I have suffered tremendously because of my illness, I have been shotdown for menial jobs which in the past I would be considered overqualified. Now I have been out of work for 5 years like many who live in Durham NC and live with HIV Durham. The amount of suffering is amazing even among people who are healthy and able bodied. I have gone through many phsycological issues living with HIV. My disease has been a major factor since my hospitalization in 05. Ths illness is nothing like a cold which is annoying but not life threatening or life changing. This disease is life changing plain and simple. I may look like anybody else but the issues I have from this disease are constant.
In Durham as well as other cities in North Carolina, HIV infection is extremely high. This state also tops the list of ADAP waiting list cases. Ironically it also leads the pack in research and has some of the best reearchers, scientists and doctors in the country. I am extremely lucky to be alive at this point and time and time again I see people in group sessions who have given in to the illness. I have also had my times of letting go and giving in but its not in my nature. Durham is a city of problems too, the school system is questionable and the education level of some in its population is High School GED or equivalence. There are drug problems homeless problems which I am sure all contribute to rising HIV cases. There are also beautiful museums, nice parks and libraries. For those living with HIV there are a multitude of resources but it can be time consuming and frustrating to aquire. The rural areas are no better and have a high rate of infections as well. The greatest barrier I see in the fight against HIV in Durham NC is stigma alone. Stigma creates a barrier to moving forward for people infected and is something that needs to be addressed before this city will ever begin to win the battle over HIV.