25 years after being given a death sentence, I'm still alive!
By Bradford McIntyre
A Celebration of Life!
Life's a Celebration, you don't need an invitation to Celebrate, Celebrate Life
November 28, 2010 - I have been living with HIV since 1984 but today I celebrate my 25th Anniversary of being told I had six months to live! On November 28th 1985, I was told by my doctor to inform my family, arrange my finances and funeral that I had six months to live! I wrote about it in ALIVE Magazine, April 2002, I Defied a Death Sentence: How to rise above the fear of disease diagnosis.
For a long time, November has been an important month for me. November has always been a month to get to . and get through . and a Celebration of Life!
In the early years, the incorrect thinking that HIV was an automatic death sentence created the fear, stigma and discrimination.
I moved away from home and isolated myself, so no one would see me get sick and die. In those earlier years, there were times of hopelessness, unable to really take care of myself, silently screaming for help. I was doing without, alone, afraid, waiting to die!
For years, I lived in fear until a friend told to me that I had suffered long enough and hard enough and that it was time to get on with my life!
I knew it was true. I took control of my life and started to move in a positive direction. Moving away from fear allowed me to SHOW UP FOR LIFE!
In 1994, I announced publicly on national TV, on the Dini Petty Show (December 1, World AIDS Day) that I was infected with HIV.
Moving away from the fear, allowed me to be out about HIV and to educate others. For 16 years, I have been OUT publicly about being infected with HIV.
People need to see others living with HIV and AIDS, who are not afraid to disclose that they are infected, in order to move away from the fear.
This will prevent the need for people to withdraw or hide the fact that they are infected with HIV.
Through educating others, it is my aim to help break down the stigma and discrimination around HIV/AIDS.
HIV has been my biggest teacher, a gift that taught me the importance of being ALIVE. My life is not about Death and Dying.
Twenty five years after being given a death sentence, I'm still alive!
There have been health concerns, sickness, HIV/AIDS medications and side effects with HIV affecting every area of my life, but there is so much more that has made my life worth living!
Life's a Celebration, you don't need an invitation to Celebrate, Celebrate Life!
By Bradford McIntyre, HIV+ since 1984