I learned something new today while I was going through social media and reading about World AIDS day.
Evidently, a lot of gay men who have been diagnosed as HIV+ are considering the dates they were diagnosed significant. I saw one long comment thread on facebook where gay men were just posting dates. Some get these dates tattooed on their bodies.
I didn’t know this. The strong emotional support these guys were giving each other brought me back to something I experienced with a friend in 2007. My friend didn’t actually have a set date for his diagnosis. I’ve worked closely with him and I know this for a fact. In his case he didn’t know he was HIV positive until it was almost too late. He’d gone into full blown AIDS by then, because a few bad doctors were treating him for other illnesses and ignoring the possibility of HIV/AIDS. It happens. Don’t think it can’t. Bad doctors are everywhere and most medical errors are human error.
Though my friend came close to death and spent three full months in the hospital in 2007, he came back and he’s doing well now, knock wood. He’s considered a “miracle” patient in the hospital that treated him. I’ve never seen any human being fight so hard in my life, and doubt I ever will again. He had to go on permanent disability and he’s not the same person he was. This is sad because he’s only in his early forties. But he’s taking his meds and living a normal life, and he takes nothing for granted anymore.
I’m not an HIV expert. All I know is what I witnessed first hand with my friend, during and after his hospital stay. But I do know this. HIV is not considered a death sentence anymore. With the right ARV meds people can live with HIV like other people live with chronic illnesses. The problem, I know from helping my friend as his acting legal power of attorney, is the cost of these meds…thousands of dollars a month. I don’t have any great advice to offer in this respect. I wish I did. But I don’t. I do know there are programs offered and anyone with HIV should look into everything they possibly can. When and if I do learn more, I’ll post about it.
And if anyone out there can add something in the comment thread, I would appreciate it. I don’t think there’s enough information out there.