HIV to AIDS – A Walk in my Footsteps
You are HIV-positive!
This statement is not one that anyone wants to hear. These were the unfortunate words communicated to me on the 11th of November 2004.
By Cindy Pivacic.
As scary as these words were, I decided that there was nothing I could do to change my situation. I would do what I could to prolong my life for my family and friends and, of course, myself! In the early years of HIV and AIDS, we, the infected, were told we had a maximum of ten years to live. That was cause for anxiety and a feeling of loss for a future.
Learning about HIV
After letting my diagnosis sink in and going through the natural grieving process, I found out as much as I could about my diagnosis. Sadly, I was never offered pre or post-counselling. I took myself through a counselling course that, amongst other content, addressed HIV, AIDS and trauma healing. This course would provide the tools for me to support others in the same predicament.
Before my counselling training, I had significant health issues, hence my counselling journey. At this point, I had already experienced the effects of AIDS, having been in and out of hospitals, doctor’s rooms, and specialist visits. This phase was between 2004 and 2008 when, around 2006, my GP ‘suggested’ I start ARVs. Be mindful that our medical fraternity was also new to this disease. Like many, I, too, was wary of the side effects and statements, as they were perceived to be harsh and often debilitating. I was reluctant to start treatment because of the hype that ARV medication could be potentially disastrous.
By 2008, I had undergone TB Meningitis and two strokes – my strokes resulted in my being in a coma for two weeks each time – one in 2005 and one in 2006. I had four bouts of shingles in a single year, a spell of pneumonia and, finally, a cancer diagnosis). My CD4 count was 203, and normal levels are at 1600. At this point, I received an AIDS diagnosis.
The important of ARV treatment
My journey had many phases. I encourage you to timeously start and adhere to your ARV treatment. I would like to share my in-depth journey to my AIDS diagnosis in upcoming articles.
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Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure, and is not a substitute for professional consultation with a health professional.
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