I am not proud that I have Aids, but I am excited about being part of the process of discovery. Research into this disease, has advanced our understanding of the human immune system to the point that we now know more about this protective "organ" than any other system in the body. More on AIDS
My real regret is that at the time I became infected, I was unaware there was such a disease. Oh, I had heard of something that was causing trouble with gays in New York and San Francisco, but had no idea as to what it was or how it spread. Around 1986, when I began to realize there was something out there that was sexually transmitted, my partner and myself went monogamous. I found out in 1991 that for me it was too late. My partner, however, is not infected. I would like to say, that in my entire life, I have had only about 15 sexual partners. It only takes one to transmit this disease, but once infected, it's permanent.
I am very lucky in many respects. I have had a loving companion since 1983. I have insurance which covers almost all my medical expenses. I don't have to worry about living expenses. And I have survived since 1991 when I first came down with full-blown Aids. At the time I was diagnosed with pneumasisis phenomena, my first illness associated with full-blown Aids, the average life expectancy of someone at my stage of the disease was 6 months. I'm still here. I am not saying the doctors were wrong with their estimates, I'm saying that I have been extremely lucky.
At first I was reclusive about my disease. I didn't want anyone to know because I was afraid they would shun me. After I had been volunteering at Manassas for about 3 months, I became sick with some type of cold which would end up putting me in bed for a month. I felt it wasn't fair for the people I worked with not to know that I may get sick and die suddenly. I asked the two people I worked under if we could have a talk. Believe me, that was one of the most difficult meetings I had ever had to go through. To my surprise they were very understanding and supportive. Since then I have been fairly open about my sexuality and illness. I'm not blatant, but if asked I will talk about it. This page is the first time I have openly stated to the world that I have Aids.
I believe the Aids virus is an amazing adaptation in nature. We see all around us, incredible biological diversity. If a specific life form finds a niche, it flourishes. It is up to us, with our incredible ability to understand the complexities of our bodies, to adapt and reason out solutions, to live with and not be destroyed by life forms which find their niche within us.
I attribute my survival to several factors. I have a very good doctor. I keep away from people who are coughing and have known contagious illnesses. I have informed my coworkers of my condition and they help by keeping away from me when they are ill and notifying me to keep away from them. I wash my hands frequently. I take all my medications on time. I eat healthy. And above all I try not to worry about my problems. I don't worry about things that I can't do anything about like whether I am going to die from this disease. Of course I may die from Aids, but I can't do anything about that so why worry about it? Worrying will just make me miserable and probably speed up the process. If I need to do something to treat my condition, I just do it and don't concern myself with "what ifs".
About every 100 years Father Nature (who says it has to be a lady) comes up with a new disease which our rudimentary human science can't deal with. We have had the red death, black death, small pox and who knows how many others; and now Aids. Each time the disease is just a bit ahead of our science or understanding. Nature uses these and other processes, to reduce overpopulation of species, maintaining the delicate balance of life within our ever evolving biosphere. Even if we are successful in stopping this plague, another one, more advanced in complexity, will come along in the next century.
Please, talk to your children and friends about Aids. Explain the consequences of unprotected sex.
That is my philosophy on the nature of this plague of the late 20th century. Thanks for listening to my diatribe.
For anyone who might be interested, here are some statistics.
I came down with pneumasisis phenomena in 1991.
I was unable to take AZT so I used several other drugs for a number of years.
I have had attacks of shingles (chicken pox) around the back of the head.
In 1994 I was infected by CMV retinitis which has left my right eye effectively blind.
As soon as it was available I started using the protease inhibitor, Saquinavir.
Before I began taking the Saquinavir, my T4 count had dropped to zero for a bit over one year.
Since starting on the inhibitors, my T4 count has risen into the 200 range and my viral load has dropped. A healthy person has a T4 count of between 500 to 2000.
I am currently (03-12-2015) on the following drugs,
|Saquinavir Mesylate||1800 mg day||Aids|
|Nelfinavir Mesylate||2250 mg day||Aids|
|Epivir||300 mg day||Aids|
|Elavil||60 mg day||relieve pain from shingles outbreak|
|Pravachol||10 mg day||Reduces increased cholesterol caused by other drugs|
|Tenormin||50 mg day||High blood pressure|
My latest blood test results... (February, 2007) I only update this when I think of it
T4 count, 530
Viral load, <50
My doctor has taken me off the oral Ganciclovir and I have not had to have an eye injection since late 1998. I keep my bimonthly eye check appointments, and if the CMV starts coming back I will have to resume the eye injections of Ganciclovir. But for the time being.....
The current viral load test which can measure down to 50 can't find any viral particles. In other words, they can't find any virus. This does not mean I am cured. I explain these results by referring to a person's yard. When you rake the yard in the fall, it looks clean from a distance, but if you look closely, there are still a few leaves left. But these tests are great news. It says the new medications have gotten the virus under control and my system is slowly recovering! I feel great and am again excited about life and am enjoying every day!