Brian's Story

Brian was in good health, working and managing his infection with HIV—the virus that can cause AIDS—when smoking led to health problems that nearly killed him. Smoking is especially dangerous for people who are living with HIV. For Brian, smoking and having HIV led to clogged blood vessels. At age 43, he had a blood clot in his lungs, a stroke, and surgery on an artery in his neck.

Brian had already beat tough health problems—including being very sick with AIDS—but he had not quit smoking. “It took a stroke for me to actually stop smoking,” said Brian. For months after the stroke, Brian had trouble speaking and reading. He couldn’t work or even dress himself. Today, his right hand is still weak, so he can no longer work as a waiter or teach pottery classes. Brian hopes his story will inspire other people to quit smoking before it’s too late. “Smoking is something that you do have control over. You can stop. And it’s worth your life to stop smoking.”

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Brian's Stroke and Slow Recovery

Brian never imagined he could have a stroke at age 43. He was in good health. But smoking, combined with having HIV, caused a stroke when he was doing what he loved most—working at the potter’s wheel. In this video, Brian talks about the day of his stroke and his efforts to recover.