Personal story: Thomas
Embrace treatment for the life-giving blessing it is
"I remember how I felt anticipating my HIV diagnosis. As I walked into the clinic and heard the door shut behind me, I felt an uneasy calm, but also unwittingly, a fearful expectation of a positive result. A positive result would be life changing on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. I asked myself what if it turns out I have this virus? A question that continued to play out in my mind through the initial testing process.
The health care worker was very nice as she sat me down and explained the HIV testing process from receiving my initial result, confirming a possible positive result and the initial steps of moving forward if I was HIV-positive. She was speaking with me as we waited for the result and having glanced down at the test, asked me: “What do you know about HIV treatment?”
I looked straight ahead and knew immediately I had tested positive. I responded by telling her that with medication, HIV is a manageable condition. She then proceeded to tell me that the result was indeed positive; and it was later confirmed I had HIV.
Many emotions coursed through me as I came to terms with my diagnosis.
My mind processed this life changing event in a methodical sequence of thoughts and reflections that led to critically important conclusions.
I wasn’t going to develop AIDS, if I kept to my treatment regimen, led a healthy lifestyle and followed up with my doctor. In addition, as long as I got my blood work done regularly, I would always know my CD4 count and viral load. Medication for HIV had made significant strides in improving overall health and life expectancy of those living with HIV, but also in reducing the occurrence and severity of possible side effects related to their usage. That being said, there was still a level of anxiety in taking this medication daily, but I embraced this opportunity for the life-giving blessing it was.
I have now been on HIV treatment for almost 15 years, and I do deal with some long-term effects due to the medication. I am currently also dealing with other medical issues that have developed since my diagnosis. This comes as no surprise and I have come to accept this reality, which was a part of my acceptance of my diagnosis.
HIV is a chronic condition but it is also a healthy story; one of personal healing, and optimizing one’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Yet, what chronic condition isn’t a healthy story? It’s just a matter of taking the journey to its perfect ending."
What we say
Even if you are expecting a positive diagnosis like Thomas was, hearing that you have HIV is still a daunting time. The best thing you can do for your health is to start treatment – Thomas embraced his treatment ‘for the life-giving blessing it was’. See our page on how HIV treatment works for more information.
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These personal stories have been submitted to us anonymously by individuals who use our site. Some of the stories have been edited for clarity purposes and names have been changed to protect identities.