I have been HIV positive since at least 1992 when I tested positive. That’s over 25 years now and counting. This makes me what they call a “long-term survivor.”–for which I am very thankful. Today was World AIDS Day 2016. I, like millions of others, stopped to remember those who have been lost as well as those who are still courageously living and fighting this virus every day.And tonight I watched as they turned Niagara Falls red in remembrance. It was very cool. I watched live on Rise Up Against HIV ‘s live Facebook broadcast. I liked that I got to participate like that too. It’s always been such a somber day for me. Many years ago I stood up in front of a large crowd at the local church, holding my year old niece in my arms, and spoke about living with this virus and wondering whether I would live to see her graduate. Well, she’s almost 23 now and a marine biologist in Florida. Not only did I see her graduate high school but cover as well. I have been blessed for sure.
I know I am one of the lucky ones. I was infected in the late 80s when the drugs to combat the virus were not that good or available. My treatments early on were horrible. I often suffered with side effects from them and it was miserable. But I lived. I lived to see this day where I now take 4 drugs once a day to keep myself undetectable. Which means that no virus can be found in my blood at this time. My treatment is working. My t cells are in the mid-600 range and I am healthy as hell. I’m certainly one of the lucky ones and I know it. I don’t take this life for granted; I know I have been given a second chance. Today I remember all of those I lost.
I have been blessed with the love a d support of my wonderful family and friends. This is another respect in which I consider myself very lucky as so many don’t have this kind d of support in their battle with this disease. I feel for them. I don’t know how I would live without the support and love I get from my family especially. They have stood by me solidly all these years. Yes, I am one lucky Butch.
On another note…I am trying to write every day now. It’s something I have challenged myself to do from now on. I am in need of topics and questions from you my dear readers! I want to know what you would like me to talk about in these blogs; what interests you, what can I write about? Please leave your comments below or email me directly at Mainelybutch@yahoo.com at your leisure.