Newly HIV-Positive (Positively part 1 of 6)

February 14, 2020 0 By Jose Scott

I just never thought that it would ever happen
to me. I bite the bullet and I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “You want to live.”
So, you have to take this medicine, to live. So, I looked at like, hey, I wouldn’t be sitting
here telling my story if I didn’t take the medicine. So I’m very thankful. I looked at
it as another notch on my belt, going through life challenged, and triumphs. Its just something
that I can learn from, and be a voice to other people that can’t be a voice to they self.
A whole lot of conflicting emotions are going on when you’re first diagnosed.
You’re angry and mad and sad, and at the same time, you’re worried about how you’re going
to live and carry on with HIV. In this section, we’re going to lean how to regain control
of our health… where WE are in charge, not HIV We’ll cover getting a provider on your team
How to find a provider Understanding how HIV spreads, and the
Importance of managing HIV Let’s get started. Meet Tamara. She found
out she was HIV-positive about a year ago. Last year when I found out I was HIV-positive,
I had a meltdown. What now? How did this happen to me? What will happen to my body? Am I going
to die? Who’s going to know? And who should I tell? Then I said to myself, “Hold on. First things
first. I gotta get linked up with a doctor, someone I can talk to, be honest with, someone
who really listens I was lucky, I found Derek Spencer who knows
a lot about HIV. I remember that awful day like it was yesterday. Hi. Is this Tamara? Hey Tamara. My name is
Derek Spencer. I’m one of your medical providers. Please have a seat. How are you feeling? OK, I guess. I want you to know that this can be a difficult
time period for many people, and you’re gonna have a lot of questions. There’s a couple
things I want you to know. That HIV is not a death sentence, and with care, you’re likely
to live a long and a healthy life. Having said that, tell me some of your concerns today. I’m not sure how I got HIV, and I really don’t
know what it is, and you know, Mama’s gonna kill me when she finds out, and I think I’m
gonna die. Your worries are
understandable. Let’s go through them one at a time. Let’s start with HIV. HIV is a virus. It’s
like the flu, but HIV is different from the flu. You have HIV for life. It doesn’t go
away. Right now there are no vaccines, and there are no cures. You and are going to work together as a team
to control your HIV. When HIV is in control, it impacts your immune system. Your immune
system is what keeps you well, and when your immune system is weakened, it can cause you
to have other illnesses, illnesses like pneumonia or even cancer. OK, that’s HIV, but what’s AIDS? AIDS is not a different virus from HIV; it’s
just HIV out of control. If you don’t take your HIV medicine, the HIV virus multiplies,
and when you have a lot of HIV in your body, your immune system breaks down, and it’s harder
for you to fight off other infections and cancers. That’s AIDS, Tamara. But taking medicine
can help you stay healthy. Like Ryan White? Yeah, kinda like Ryan White. Ryan White was
infected with HIV in 1984 when he was just 13 years old. He was given six months to live,
but with the help of his doctors and his family, he lived until 18, but that was even before
we had modern advancements in medicine. Let’s give you an even newer example: Magic Johnson.
He’s had HIV for more than 20 years, but it’s under control. He takes his medicines, and
that’s the same thing you are going to do. If you keep up your appointments and you take
your medicines, you should be able to follow all the dreams you had before you were diagnosed
with HIV. But Ryan White and Magic Johnson had a lot
of support. How am I going to be able to manage my treatment and afford the medicine? Don’t you worry about that. You’re going to
have a lot of support also. This clinic along with the state and the city health department
are going to make sure that you get all the services that are available for people who
are living with HIV. What else would you like to know? Well, I’m not sure how I got infected. There are two main ways that people get HIV.
One would be through unprotected sex. The other way is through sharing needles. HIV
can also be passed to a baby from a mother while she’s expecting or while she’s nursing. I could have got it through sex or a needle. Whichever way you got it, you need to be very
careful now to keep yourself safe. Even though you have HIV, you don’t want to get a different
type of HIV or another strain of the disease. Tamara, don’t share needles. And make sure
your partners always use condoms. That way you have a low risk of getting another strain
of HIV, and you lower the risk of infecting somebody else. How about anything else? I’m worried about people finding out that
I have HIV. That’s a big worry. The issue of telling people
that you are HIV-positive is something that we call “disclosure.” Disclosure needs some
thought. You should only disclose to people you trust. We can help you to inform your
sex and needle-sharing partners that they’re at risk also, and that they should get tested
even if they don’t feel sick. It’s confidential, and you don’t have to worry that your name
is going to be involved. I’m just so scared and so sad and so angry
that I have HIV. I could just scream. Tamara, I’m sorry, and I want you to know
that everything that you’re feeling is so normal. We want to do some things for you.
I want to connect you with a support group. I want you to meet some other young people
who are living with HIV. I want you to hear their experiences. And I want you to be able
to share your experiences. We’re talking about what’s needed for you to live well with HIV,
and we’re committing to get you all the support you need to do that really well. OK, so what’s the next step?
That next step is for us to continue our partnership and to work as a team. We’re going to go out
together now, and we’re going to set an appointment for our next visit. Why don’t you come with
me to the front desk and set that appointment up. Thanks. I hope hearing my story helps you. Feel free
to go back and play over what you just watched or click on the links at the end of the video.
Here are some questions to help you figure out whether to go back and listen again. It’s
not a test. It’s just for you.