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Getting Real about HIV/AIDS

I am a best friend, a poet, aand a cook. And I'm living with HIV. Let's Stop HIV Together. Antron

Unless those of us who are infected put our faces and our words to this Virus, it will continue to destroy lives. I won't tell about my journey in this battle over the 29-plus years I have been infected. I am doing this in hopes that just maybe one person will stop and think of safe sex every time they choose to sleep with another person.

I, like many others, know what life was like before HIV/AIDS became a part of the world. Before some 43 million others who are now fighting this Battle. I can remember when rumors started around the community that young gay guys were dying from something. Not just a couple, but many more than I even care to remember. Fear of the unknown caused many people to look for someone to blame for this Virus.

Of course in those days it wasn't called HIV, but GRIDS. I buried not only a partner of some 20 years, but just about every other friend I had run with. I saw how people were being treated, or, should I say, being refused help in many places, including our health workers.

Not until May of 1996 did I seek any treatment, I had always said I would just die rather than seek treatment. Somewhere in the haze of 106 degree temperature I started on the HIV meds that were available.

Having K.S. [Karposi's Sarcoma] made me a walking billboard for what people were thought to look like if they had the Virus. So the decision of whether to tell anyone was never an option for me. It wasn't long after that the PI's [protease inhibitors] hit the market and I was started on Cixavan and within 2 years my K.S. began to fade. Since that time, my health has been great. My viral load has been undetectable since 1999 and still is today.

Then as a routine blood work up, it was discovered I was co- infected with Hepatitis C. The clinical trial I started on made the Hep C undetectable or maybe cured. Either way, the battle of surviving the treatment was almost my death. The good part is they now know that AZT cannot be in your drug regimen if you are to seek treatment.

It is now heading down the road to being POZ [HIV positive] 30 years. What the next 30 years will bring I guess I will have to let you know then.
 

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