"OMG! I just found out I'm HIV+!!!!"

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 17, 2012 11:20 AM GMT
    Recently, another younger RJ'r contacted me after learning that they have tested HIV+. I am sharing the exchange for the benefit of any other RJ'rs out there who may benefit from the sharing of my personal experience and viewpoints...

    Yesterday I felt so sick in my stomach and I felt like that was it for me. Today things got a little better, not a whole lot but its a start. I guess I'm just trying to understand my condition and reach out to other who truly know and understand what HIV is all about. I'm so new at this I don't even know where to begin or what questions to ask. I guess I could start with the one and most asked question, how long do one get to live with the latest medication? Do you have a do's and don'ts list to stay healthy, live a long and "normal" life? I could use as much information as I possibly can get.


    Here was my response...

    Good morning (name of RJ member withheld for privacy)!

    Sadly, I can't answer the question on how long somebody may live with the latest medications. Out of the 28 years I've been HIV+, I've only been on medications for 15 years. Medications were not available when I tested positive at age 19 in 1984. I went on my first medications in 1997. I wasn't sick or anything, the protocol for handling HIV changed and then there were several medications. So, I do not yet know how many years I might live on what have been easy to take medications with minimal side effect. I can only say that it could be at least 15 years? Maybe with today's medications it could be longer? Maybe with future medications it could be even longer?

    Do keep a positive attitude towards life and living.
    Do eat healthy and take good supplements.
    Do exercise regularly.
    Do get plenty of sleep.
    Do go to a therapist to talk through all the good, the bad, and the ugly going on in your life.
    Do go to support groups. I still go, but mostly to share my story so that others know that there is more than just hope to survive...you can thrive!
    Do go to a good doctor and get regular bloodwork performed to monitor your health (every 3 months).
    Do get and keep health insurance. Ideally, a PPO. NEVER an HMO!
    Do get onto anti-retroviral therapy ASAP.
    Do take your meds as prescribed.
    Don't miss doses. Keep extras with you in your briefcase or backpack.
    Do get immunizations such as seasonal flu shots, Pneumovax, vaccines for Hepatitis B, and any other vaccines which can help your immune system from getting sick.
    Don't use drugs and alcohol.
    Don't have unprotected sex.
    Don't burn yourself out overextending yourself at work, school, play or whatever.
    Don't worry, be anxious, or afraid.
    Do have open and healthy conversations with potential sex partners. The ones who would turn you away for being HIV+ are not worth your time.
    Do be prepared to be misunderstood, judged, turned away for being HIV+
    Do continue to go to work, school, and otherwise make a difference with your life.
    Do tell everybody you know that you love them...frequently.
    Do enjoy your life, because it just may be a very, very long one.

    I never expected to live to see age 20. I am 47.

    Does this help? Do you have any follow on questions?


    HIV does NOT have to be a "death sentence". Your life does NOT have to be over. And, although I would wish HIV on no person, I have managed to turn HIV into one of the greatest blessings in my life. I used HIV to LIVE with purpose and with vigor.

    For those of you out there who are HIV-, I suggest that you do what it takes to stay HIV-.

    For those of you who are HIV+, LIVE!

    Aloha and Be Well!
    Alan


    EDIT 20130131 - P.S. Any questions posed to me in a private message MAY be sanitized to remove any situational or personal identifying information so that I may post a generic answer to this thread for the benefit of all. I will always respect your anonymity and confidentiality and am honored to take questions in private.
  • drakutis

    Posts: 586

    Oct 17, 2012 1:21 PM GMT
    BRAVO!!!
  • drakutis

    Posts: 586

    Oct 17, 2012 1:24 PM GMT
    It's a shame that there have been 82 views of your post, and I'm THE FIRST to comment? What's wrong with this picture?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 17, 2012 1:34 PM GMT
    wow...that guy is inspiring..awesome attitude.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 17, 2012 1:39 PM GMT
    Congrats, Alan, and thanks for your contributon!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 17, 2012 1:51 PM GMT
    Hey GAMRican - you rock.. ;) Just saying...
  • Kain81

    Posts: 39

    Oct 17, 2012 1:52 PM GMT
    Wow -- it's always inspiring to read something like this; and its inspiring in all the right ways: a TRULY positive message. Good solid advice icon_smile.gif

    I write a blog and would like to use this as a topic of conversation on it -- I'll email you about it.

    Positive in this case translates to a positive way of life.
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    Oct 17, 2012 1:55 PM GMT
    Wow! That's great advice mate, and kudos to you for keeping such a positive attitude. Sometimes I think that a great attitude is part of what helps you go through. I actually have friends whom are HIV+ and believe me, I have learned a LOT from them.

    Cheers,

    Sean
  • mr_bijae

    Posts: 229

    Oct 17, 2012 1:58 PM GMT
    That was an amazing response. When I was twenty three I dated a man for 2 years that was positive. I did not contract and we had a healthy sex life. That, like your story was more than 15 years ago and he's still very healthy and active, living what I would consider a normal life. HIV is definitely NOT a death sentence or a celibacy sentence. We need more people like GAMRican who educate people on how to live life to the fullest!

    Thank you GAMRican for your post!!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 17, 2012 2:17 PM GMT
    Great post that everybody regardless of HIV+ status should read.
  • RockHard07

    Posts: 11

    Oct 17, 2012 2:30 PM GMT
    Strong words man hiv is not as bad as it once was from how I see it people are more worried about what there friends would say more then they should feel and besides last I check if I left this world today the world would keep turning and the people I called friends have moved on so take care of youself and look out for u man and stay strong icon_biggrin.gif
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    Oct 17, 2012 2:42 PM GMT

    Double pound on my chest! *my well wishes to that guy may he live life positively always and look up to the Sun everyday!icon_wink.gif

    * thanks OP for sharing, this is one of the valuable threads that I could capture on this time of RJ today .
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 17, 2012 2:54 PM GMT
    Gamrican you are really cool!
  • MuscleComeBac...

    Posts: 2376

    Oct 17, 2012 3:03 PM GMT
    Thank God for you, Alan, and every breath you take.
  • starboard5

    Posts: 969

    Oct 17, 2012 3:09 PM GMT
    One of the most valuable posts to appear on this site. Keep shining.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 17, 2012 3:12 PM GMT
    Great post!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 17, 2012 3:15 PM GMT
    Well said !
  • Aodhan

    Posts: 3828

    Oct 17, 2012 3:18 PM GMT
    this is great! Learning loads icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 17, 2012 3:29 PM GMT
    Alan,

    You are MORE than just HOTT!

    ....you're a dude with serious SUBSTANCE
    ....and I'd place another bet on a HUGE heart

    God bless you man !
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 17, 2012 3:41 PM GMT
    There needs to be more of you Alan for support to many. Thanks for caring, it says a lot about who you are.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Oct 17, 2012 3:45 PM GMT
    I'm sorry to hear about another young guy having to face this diagnoses. I'm glad he knows he's not alone.

    I agree with what others have said. GAMRican, you're a great model and personal hero for many of us. Thank you for being such a great man and an inspiration to all of us.
  • hockeydude12

    Posts: 169

    Oct 17, 2012 3:48 PM GMT
    Well said Alan, a very positive message. Always nice to see the RJ community helping eachother out. icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 17, 2012 3:57 PM GMT
    I have no specific knowledge of HIV. But I am a cancer survivor and take my health and nutrition very seriously now.World's Healthiest Foods is my favorite nutrition site. Here is an article on foods for a healthy immune system:

    What Foods are Good for My Immune System?
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    Oct 17, 2012 3:58 PM GMT
    Wow...this was very inspirational and I'm glad there's people who are not afraid or ashamed to share what is like to live with this condition and letting others who might be new to it know that it is not the end for them...

    Sir Alan, I salute you. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Oct 17, 2012 4:00 PM GMT
    I'm both thrilled with your reaction and response and glad that he didn't reach out to someone else, no one in particular, who might not have responded with such care and grace! We have to lift ourselves and one another in this life. Props to you GAMRican!