Living with HIV serious business
by Bradford McIntyre
The Vancouver Courier, Wednesday, January 16, 2002
To the editor: You made my day when I picked up the paper, seeing
three pages devoted to HIV/AIDS (Spreading the word, Jan. 2).
I am grateful to the Courier and also to reporter David Carrigg
for putting it out there when it so rarely is! World AIDS Day,
Dec. 1, came and went with very little coverage of HIV/AIDS issues
and news in any of the newspapers countrywide.
There is no doubt HIV infection is on the rise.
People are not practicing safe sex and don't care! There
are many factors to consider when examining this situation, but
it does need to be examined and people made aware of the seriousness
of HIV if you are infected. There has to be more information provided
by the media in order to educate the public and create change.
There are individuals who may never develop HIV
opportunistic infections or disease for many years, or ever. But
they are fewer than those cases having to live with the roller
coaster of high and low energy, of the ups and downs of HIV related
health problems-fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, neuropathy as well
as illness from the side effects of the HIV/AIDS medications.
These cocktails are no fun, as anyone on them will
confirm. In general, health becomes a full time job to stay well
and alive. I know; I have been living with HIV for over 17 years.
Most people have no real understanding of what it
is like to live infected with the HIV virus, because they only
hear about the sick and dying. Those who see the bulked up, muscle-bound
image don't realize many of these individuals are not working,
and the use of steroids is common, due to wasting and/or lipodystrophy.
Many are not aware of how being HIV positive affects your relationships,
career, travel and future. HIV should not be taken lightly. But
without more attention given to proper information and a true
portrayal, this disregard for the seriousness of HIV infection
will continue to grow.