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Learning to live with HIV

Hurrah! I just did 15 continuous lengths of my local swimmimhg pool! Is that all? you might ask..............
I am a 34 year old woman,living in UK.I'm in a happy hetrosexual relationship, and have a great 8 yr old son. Last Autumn I became ill, constant low grade temp, slight pancytopoenia, aches and pains, oral problems and blah blah. I went to and from the GP, having every test under sun which revealed nothing. Eventually saw a young doctor who had the foresight to ask me if I knew of anything which had compromised my immune system. I bit the bait and had an HIV test. My result came back positive and I felt like someone had ripped my stomach out. To make matters worse my CD4 count was 50 and my viral load was 'off the scale'. I was very very ill. My beautiful boyfriend of 2 years has also tested positive, but this is my story. I started treatment four months ago. I reacted violently to the septrin just to add a little more fun! My treatment has been adjusted slightly to replace the protease inhibitor with efavirenz. I am coping with the side effects, which do get easier. I have never thrown up or had a fast track pass to the toilet. I am getting better, much much better.

The point of the swimming is not that I am well enough to do it now....it is that it is the first time in my life I have done something so energetic, even when very well. Life is good, I am learning to live with HIV. After 6 months since diagnosis, there are days now when I don't think about it at all. It is going to have to learn to live with me now.

I choose who I tell very carefully. I demand the best care possible, from my team and from myself. I measure my life now by it's depth, not it's length....something I should have been doing anyway.
Life is good.......but I must quit smoking!
Keep well; be positively positive.


Sent via email June 26 2002, United Kingdom

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