Today is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day.
I acquired the virus in 1984:
1 year before the virus was isolated and named LAV/HTLV-III;
2 years before the ELISA antibody test became available;
3 years before I was officially diagnosed
4 years before I began taking the only FDA-approved treatment, the toxic AZT;
12 years before the pharmaceutical “cocktail” treatment (HAART) changed the face of the epidemic
I have had 2 lymphomas, with their accompanying chemos and infections, a heart attack, both hips replaced, 6 stents in my arteries, I have diabetes, high blood pressure, neuropathy, chronic fatigue, and dysthymia.
I have consumed approximately 100,000 anti-viral pills in my lifetime, and I continue to take 10 pills/day.
I was 26 in 1984. I will be 64 next month.
I will continue to advocate for longterm survivors, through my writing and public speaking, even (especially?) if it irritates you.
Because we are here. We have a LOT to contribute. And we will not be dismissed.
Here’s one thing you can do today: if you don’t know what U=U means, Google it. It’s important.
Thank you. 😎