Living with HIV in the south is difficult. living with AIDS is harder. Many diagnosed with AIDS in the 80s and early 90s were usually told they had about 6 months to live and to go home and get their affairs in order and well...get ready to die. This is a tough pill for anyone suffering from any disease. In a world which focuses on profitability and forward motion, a person diagnosed used to just have to pack it up and die in whatever situation they were in. In fact before I contracted HIV myself I once knew a man who contracted the HIV virus. I didnt know it at the time when I met him, six months later I saw him come out of his apartment with a chair which he was going to load in a truck outside. He looked terrible, sunken cheeks, weight loss of probably 80 lbs since I last saw him and definitely on his last leg. I helped him move the chair in the truck which he thanked me for graciously. The next day an ambulance came and the paramedics walked straight to his apartment. He was wheeled out and taken to the ambulance giving me a glance and a wave before he was taken away. Apparently he had hemmoraged in his apartment the night before and in the next couple days I was told he passed away the day they took him away. Fast forward 15 years and it was my time to be taken away in an ambulance, I had been sweating profusely for 6 months, shortness of breath and lost 70 lbs. I too was diagnosed with AIDS. Upon my arrival my wife was informed I probably wouldnt survive the next 2 days. After 3 weeks I was stabalized and went home and actually went back to work for another year before finally having to stop and go on disability. In the south HIV is considered taboo by many, a disease which was probably asked for. Usually this belief comes from the Christian perspective of godliness is holiness. When you are living with AIDS, everyday is another day of survival, you certainly cant be worried about what others think. I have found that the stigma attatched to the disease is far worse than the disease itself, it can be debilitating almost as much as the HIV virus itself. With this said, I do belief that living with HIV/AIDS and the ability to thrive or just survive depends on the individuals perspective and nothing else.
May 10, 2012