Each and every day I encounter people living with an HIV diagnosis who have resigned themselves to sit hour after hour in front of the television waiting to die. They have convinced themselves they’re too sick to step foot out of doors to enjoy the world around them. These individuals rarely socialize with others outside of their close HIV circle of friends. Somewhere, they have lost their desire to live, instead they simply exist until the virus takes them to the next dimension. My heart bleeds for those once active and productive individuals who succumbed to the perception that their lives were over when they received their HIV diagnosis.
Nearly four years ago, I received my HIV diagnosis along with what the doctor referred to as “full blown AIDS.” Immediately, I begun medical treatment. The first year wasn’t pleasant as my body rejected the myriad of chemicals forced on it. But once my body became tolerant to the medications I wanted to resume living again. Slowly I became involved with activities in the outside world, I learned and accepted my limitations. I searched out opportunities to volunteer my time. It didn’t take long before my monthly planner became and stayed full with activities that benefited the HIV community. I consciously remind and schedule time to care for myself. I’m LIVING and not just existing. All of us will die someday, we have no idea when or where, but I’m not willing to resign myself to the ritual of waiting for the inevitable. Inactivity and negative thinking do nothing positive for the person with an HIV diagnosis.
Every community offers opportunities to give-back to the community which has assisted the individual living with HIV. My advice for any person with HIV is to volunteer in your local community take a class at the community college, participate in a crafting workshop, join a book club, take a walk, feed the ducks or geese… just return to the world of the LIVING. You have talents and ideas to share with others, become productive, rejoin and contribute to the world around you. HIV is a controllable virus, not a death sentence. Stand up to HIV and let the world see YOU for who you are … a beautiful, caring human being with an extraordinary soul. Celebrate the wonderful gift you were given … the gift of LIFE.