Planning An HIV-Positive Future
Planning An HIV-Positive Future
Brett Grodeck (Author, The First Year - HIV) gives expert video advice on: How should I plan for my future with HIV?; Should I fear AIDS if I have HIV? and more...
Do I need to plan for my future if I have HIV?
I think people should be thinking about their future if they have HIV. I know that 15 years ago, when I started on HIV treatment, I couldn't imagine being here today, fifteen years later. I certainly wish I had planned my future a little bit better back then. I'm still paying my student loans, I'm still paying my credit cards, still wishing I went to graduate school. If I had known that I would be here today, I probably would have planned for my future, altered my life in a slightly different way. So, I think people that are testing positive now, can plan for their future, as if HIV isn't a concern, because the medicine is great, take it everyday as prescribed, you can expect a full and healthy life, that really shouldn't inhibit any kind of school, or work, or study or travel in the future; anything that excites you. There's no reason why HIV needs to get in the way of any of that in your future.
How did HIV change your future?
What's really interesting about being HIV positive for 20 years now, is for 10 years, for so long there was this sense of impending death. It felt like for 10 years, I lived with a gun to my head. That's not great for mental health. What's interesting is that when the new medicines came along, that gun was taken away. There it was, I just had to go live a life. Sometimes then, you're left questioning what the point of life is. Why do I get up every morning, why do I do things, why do I try to keep myself healthy? I think when you're originally confronted with death, you snap into crisis mode. Then when that threat goes away, you're just left, out in the world. And you wonder what the purpose of it all is. What's my meaning, why am I here? You begin to search out spiritual or other endeavours. I've decided to take my writing and my editorial talents and explore health and health-related issues. At the same time I'm trying to live a life and pay mortgage, and pay off my student loan which continues to haunt me. I feel a satisfaction and a meaning from writing about health and HIV. That's not right for everybody, but certainly is for me. It gives me a sense of purpose and meaning that I can write down the events of people who have tested positive and help out those in the future.
Should I fear AIDS if I have HIV?
If you're HIV positive I think that it's important to remember that getting AIDS is always a possibility. Use that possibility to motivate yourself to be adherent to the medicine. If you're 95 to 100% adherent to your HIV medicine, you shouldn't have any rational fear about getting AIDS because you can see on paper how healthy your immune system is. When you snuff out the virus your immune system comes back to life, and there's no reason why you should at all fear getting AIDS at this point. Never forget that what's preventing you from getting AIDS is taking your HIV medicine as prescribed every day. If you're HIV positive and you're starting on treatment, that's the number one most important take home message for people: if they're going to take HIV medicine, take it correctly always.