THERE IS LIFE AFTER AN HIV DIAGNOSIS
In 1990 I was diagnosed with HIV. It’s a day I will never forget. I was sitting in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. My name was called and the doctor took me into his private office. He informed me that I tested positive for the HIV viruses and that I must find a doctor that did have knowledge of this disease. I went instantly numb. In 1990 the life expectancy for someone diagnosed with HIV was eight years.
First, I cried for about a week and locked myself in my condo until finally someone came looking for me. After that point, I went into complete denial. Only a few friends and family knew of my situation. I acted like it never happened. I became a very heavy substance abuser. “Why not?” I thought, I was going to die. Then the anger set in, especially with God. I thought, “How could God let my mother die and leave me with an abusive father?” This, I feel, led me into destructive life styles and behaviors.
Ten years had past and I wasn’t dead. So I decided to give sobriety a try and have some sort of life. Oh boy, when I got sober I did some serious bargaining. I swore that if I stayed healthy that I would never pick up another drink or drug again. Remember God, the one who I was so angry with, well I made a lot of deals with God. I prayed that I was so sorry for my anger and that I couldn’t do anything without him. That if God let me live, I would carry his message.
After all the emotions and the struggles that come with a HIV diagnosis, I came to accept that it was a part of me. There was nothing I could do to change it. I came to realize that I did not have to die from this disease. Yes, there is life after an HIV diagnosis.