Brad McIntyre learned he was HIV positive 10 years
ago. After fearing death for four years, he decided to get on
with his life. For McIntyre, the AIDS virus is... No longer a death sentence
McIntyre held a party for his friends last November and
presented each with an award, a gift of crystal. One friend was
honored with Most Instrumental. Another was named Best Support.
McIntyre, 42, has lived with HIV for almost a decade, and to
him it's not a death sentence any more.
The first four years were a living hell, he remembers, mainly
because he was afraid of death. But then, after a friend told
him he had suffered long enough and hard enough, he slapped some
bright paint on his beige apartment walls. He chose to get on
with his life.
Fear is something we create, and he has uncreated it, says McIntyre
as soothing New Age music plays in the background and his turtle
dove Carmen flits along the top of the couch. Facing a life-threatening
illness makes you appreciate life, he says.
McIntyre was diagnosed with the virus linked to AIDS and on Nov.
28th, 1985, given six months to live and told by his doctor to
arrange his finances and funeral. On the anniversary of his diagnosis
every year, he now organizes a party, a celebration of life.
Wednesday, November 30, 1994
'HIV diagnosis gives man wake-up call' by Susan Riley
If you were given
six months to live, how would you spend the time?
For Brad McIntyre, a 42 years-old former hairstylist at Rinaldo's,
its not an idle question. Ten years ago this week, McIntyre was
told he was HIV positive and had six months to live.
He was advised to tell his family and arrange his funeral. When
he didn't die within the allotted time, he was given 18 more
months. On Monday, he celebrated another anniversary of that grim
diagnosis with 60 friends at a party at the World Exchange Plaza.
Handsome, healthy, and charged with nervous excitement, McIntyre
used the occasion to share the emotion and spiritual transformation
that has, he says, made him more fully alive than ever.
We don't usually look at AIDS-or any life-threatening illness - as
an opportunity. But without diminishing the seriousness of the
disease of sentimentalizing its impact, it can be, says McIntyre,
"a wake-up call."
11th International AIDS Conference
July 7, 1996, Vancouver, BC, Canada,
Doreen Millman's Speech at the 11th International AIDS Conference by Doreen Millman
"I'm one of the millions of people around the world living with HIV. I know many of you are probably asking yourselves how I got infected-you're wondering how a 63 year old grandmother could have been exposed to HIV. Well the answer is simple. IT JUST DOESN''T MATTER!
It doesn't matter how anyone became infected. I want to explain that all people living with HIV/AIDS have the same rights, we all do; we deserve and demand to be treated as equals with dignity; we are all people worthy of respect and compassion. The only thing that makes us different from anyone else is that we are living with a virus that is challenging the world in so many ways.
Like millions of people, I know and experience the challenge of living with HIV. But also like millions of people, I know the heartache it is to have a loved one with HIV. You see my son is also HIV positive. In fact, we learned within three weeks of each other that we were both positive. Since that time, our struggles have been the same; our needs and hopes for the future identical.
My name is Bradford McIntyre and Iím Positively Positive! I have been living, infected with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) since 1984!
I feel very fortunate to be sharing with you!
There is more power in people knowing I am HIV positive, than there ever was in the fear and hiding. The answers are in letting go of fear! Society has created a huge closet housing many shelves. Shelves for Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian and Transgendered, but even more shelves housing drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, physical and mental abuse, bulimia, anorexia, cancer, AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), dis-ease and disease. It is time for us to come out of the closet and tell people what is going on in our life. Then and only then can people know what is going on, support you, and if need be, offer help. We donít have to go through life alone. There are people who will show up if we let them know who we are and what is going on in our life. Instead of deciding what others can handle or know, it is time to come out of the closet. Then and only then can we be our true selves!
September 3, 1999 - The Namibian
Setting an example and... Living Positively With HIV by Christof Maletzky
MATTHIAS Isando Nunuheb was all fired up for the conference on people living positively with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Long before the landmark conference was finalised, the 23 year-old from Katutura had prepared his speech on the goals of the gathering - a speech that would have gone down in his short history as one of his greatest hours.
But sadly this was not to be. Two days before he was to announce publicly that he was HIV positive and call on many other infected people to live positively with the virus that cuts across all sectors of Namibia's society, he died.
His brother Menassius had to read the speech at the opening of the conference which is being attended by more than 300 people - many of them HIV positive.
I have waited for a conference of people living positively for a very long, long time. One thing in Namibia is that we don't talk about positive life. It is important that we don't discriminate and are not secretive about AIDS. It is all around us, we need to speak out and learn how to live positively," the late Isando, who helped organise the conference, said through the mouth of his brother who read his speech.
For many people reading this, trying to find any gift in the AIDS experience may seem difficult, if not impossible. However, in the seventeen years that I have been part of the HIV reality I have obtained many gifts from this epidemic. I would like to share these gifts with you in the hopes that it will mobilize you into action, or sustain your efforts. Life gives us gifts in strange packages. At first we are often only aware of what we are losing. It is only over time that we can see what we have gained.
Here are the gifts that I have received from AIDS: