Living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) isn’t the death sentence it used to be due to advances in medicine. However, it is definitely not an enjoyable way to live.
Eight years ago, someone close to me was diagnosed with HIV. We will call this person Adrian. Adrian was devastated, scared and went through a bout of depression for about one year after receiving the bad news.
Luckily for Adrian, HIV doesn’t automatically mean acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or death. Medication that helps keep HIV patients alive and relatively healthy is available. However, there are consequences that come with medication. Some can cause mild side effects such as nausea and vomiting and some can cause more serious detrimental harm such as liver damage and osteoporosis.
Adrian takes a cocktail of HIV medication everyday to stay healthy. The medication makes Adrian nauseous and causes hallucinations and blurry vision. But Adrian doesn’t complain about it.
Adrian also has a friend who was diagnosed with HIV a few years ago. We will call Adrian’s friend Alex. Alex didn’t cope with the news as well as Adrian did. I saw Alex a few years ago and Alex didn’t look very good. Alex lost a significant amount of weight and looked sickly. Adrian advised me that Alex was depressed and didn’t like the side effects of the medication. Alex stopped taking them. Neither Adrian nor I have seen or heard from Alex in a few years. We don’t know whether or not Alex is alive or dead.
Adrian pointed out that no matter how hard the medication is to take, he will continue to religiously take it. Adrian’s reason is life. Adrian has a sunny outlook these days but every now and then Adrian will give me a hug, cry and thank me for being there.
Even though Adrian is relatively healthy and has a positive outlook, the possibility of an early death will always linger over my friend’s head. They say you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone and this is very true when it comes to your health. Respect your health and happiness and wait to have sex until you are in a trusting, monogamous relationship. It’s your life, well-being and happiness on the line. Don’t throw it all away.