It saddens my soul to know that in some states, the spit of an HIV positive person is considered a deadly weapon. Ive spent alot of time trying to educate young people but I would love to sit in a room with policy makers and share my story with them. I would like to hug the law makers and then educate them on the basics of HIV transmission. I must admit I fool myself in thinking that everyone knows how HIV is transmitted. I cant recall blogging about modes of transmission so here it is.
HIV lives in 4 body fluids. Blood, breast milk, semen, and vaginal fluids. The virus can be found in these fluids and any other body fluids in which these 4 can be found including pre-cum and any body fluid containing blood. If I, an HIV positive person, were to spit on you, lick you or eat off your fork when your back is turned you are not at risk of catching HIV. If I were to kiss you on your lips you should not run out and seek an HIV test. If we got in a physical fight unless we both some how receive open wounds there is no risk of you becoming infected.
HIV positive people are serving time in prison for spiting. Although it is a very rude thing to do to someone there is no reason that ones diagnosis should make this an arrestable offensive. I have been reading up on HIV related laws and I must say I am not at all surprised at the fact that HIV positive people are still afraid to live out loud. I watched the movie titled Philadelphia just yesterday and it made me think. After all these years and all this work people are still being fired from their job after their HIV status is exposed. I know this to be true because It happened to me. Ignorance should be outlawed! If we would all take the time to learn all there is to know about what it is that we fear then how great would this world be. Racism would be erased, stereotypes would vanish, and ignorance would not be an option.
It started with Timothy Brown AKA The Berlin Patient AKA The first Person to be cured of HIV. He found out he was HIV positive in 1995. His life was saved by the medication that made living with HIV a reality. In 2006 he received a new threat to his life, leukemia. he under went chemo therapy just the same as many cancer patients but the leukemia came back. the next step was a bone marrow transplant.
Many years ago there was a documentary on people who were resistant to HIV. It was late one night and I couldn’t sleep so I flipped through the channels and stopped on one with a graphic showing how HIV entered a cd4 cell. I remember them following a man who described how he began to lose all his friends due to complications of AIDS and he noticed that many of them were former lovers of his. He heard that the virus was contracted sexually and when his current lover began to show signs of sickness. they both went to get tested. His lover was infected but he was not. He described to the doctor that several of his former lover had already died and his current lover is ill so clearly the test was wrong and he had to have this virus as well. but test after test came back negative for HIV. He began to ask how is it that other were contracting HIV from practicing the same behaviors as and he wasn’t further test showed that his cd4 cells did not have the receptors that HIV needed to latch on to in order to take over and infect it. This meant that even if the virus did enter his body it was unable to replicate so it would simply die causing his to be resistant to HIV.
Now back to Timothy Brown.
His doctor, Gero Hütter, didn’t know very much about HIV but he was aware of the fact that a genetic mutation, called delta 32, disables the CCR5 receptors on the surface of the CD4 cells. If a person had two parents with delta 32 they were completely immune to HIV. T. Brown was in need of a bone marrow transplant, and the CD4 cell is produce in the bone marrow. Dr. Hütter was on to something that no other doctor had ever tried before. An HIV resistant bone marrow donor would cure T. Brown of leukemia and produce HIV resistant CD4 cells curing him of HIV as well. Long story short IT WORKED!!!!!!! Dr. Hütter found 232 donors worldwide who were matches for Brown. They worked through the list testing each of donors for the mutation. Donor 61 was just what the doctor ordered!
While the rest of the world was focused on improving treatment and creating a vaccine AIDS researchers and clinicians had accepted the beliefs that a cure was impossible.
Cure stories are starting to pop up all over. First Timothy Brown then the baby in Mississippi is treated and cured, now a 12 year old boy has received a cord blood transplant in hopes to cure his leukemia and HIV. My fingers are crossed! Maybe soon I will be telling the story of how I get cured.
This is different. I have had a few relationships in the past where I thought I was accepted despite my Positive status. I was so use to being accepted only in the shadows. I still have people in my life who are ok with having a friend who is HIV positive as long as no one else knows. I can remember being invited to share my story at a school and being told by the person that I was dating at the time that I can’t do it because they knew people who lived near that school. The fear was in the fact that somehow his friends would find out that the women he “loved” was HIV positive.
The relationship that I’m in now is so different from anything that I have ever experienced. I have been in relationships with women before but never anything that was truly open and honest so it was never serious. She took it upon herself to tell her friends all about me. I was afraid to accept them to my facebook page for fear of them finding out that she was dating an HIV positive woman. She told me that she had already told them and they were just as ok about it as she was. This relationship is one that allows me to be me. I don’t have to hide anymore and that feels amazing.
We went to the book store with a friend of hers who is now my friend as well. We will call her Ricky. Ricky shared a very intimate story about how she was once taken advantage of. This got me to thinking about the times in the past when I was in similar situations. Trying to keep my diagnosis a secret has often lead me to playing the role of the oblivious girl right on the verge of danger. I explained a situation to her that I worked really hard to forget.
I was about 19 and in one of my depressed moods. I turned to my normal reckless behavior to get over it. I called the party line and hooked up a date with some random stranger. I had him pick me up at the library and we went to get something to eat. After that I expected to get dropped off back at the library. He said he wanted to show me something. He got on the freeway and drove to a city I was unfamiliar with I asked where he was taking me and he said “You will see soon it’s a surprise.” My heart beat quickened and I contemplated telling him about the fact that I was born positive as a way to make him change his mind if he had bad intentions. That could have ended very badly. He got off the freeway and I made up my mind that I was getting out of that car at the next possible chance. I slowly took off my seat belt, He stopped at a red light and I quickly jumped out the car and ran in the opposite direction. I looked back and saw him get out the car to close the door. I kept running and didn’t look back any more. I saw a city bus and I waved hysterically praying that it would stop. The driver opened the door and I jumped on board. I told the driver that I was on a date and I was afraid that he was going to try to hurt me. I was in tears as I explained that I had no idea where I was and I didn’t have any money but if I could get close to the Downtown Union Station I could get home. The driver gave me a day pass and told me he would tell me where to get off and what bus I needed to get to where I was going.
I asked Ricky if she knew about me being positive after sharing this story with her. She just shook her head yes. I told her that we all have reasons for doing reckless things but during those times we needed to turn to the people who we know we can trust. She was very clear about the fact that she was now one of those people for me and I was one of those people for her. She and I both dropped a few tears while sitting in the café of the book store and I could tell that she would be one of those people who would be in my life for a very long time. This relationship is bringing on more positive relationships and it’s pulling me out of the shadows.
For a really long time I found it hard to love and even harder to trust. She and I are not perfect people and we both have a lot to learn about the other but I don’t see us ever having a problem that we can’t work out.
I’m looking forward to reading a book titled The Five Love Languages. I was advised by a friend that it would benefit me in all situations when communicating with others. Look forward to the growth and strength I will gain from this book.
I RIP UP ALL THE DOCUMENTS THAT WOULD CLUE YOU INTO ME. CHANGED MY NAME TO ANGEL DOLL AND STOLE A HALO TO HIDE MY IDENTITY. I DELETE ALL THE VOICEMAIL MESSAGES AND ERASE THE E-MAIL TOO. I WILL TAKE AMILLION EXTRA STEPS JUST TO KEEP MY TRUE SELF FROM YOU. IF ONLY THE WORLD WOULD UNDERSTAND I WOULD CEASE TO LIVE IN FEAR. BUT DAY TO DAY IN MY SOCIAL LIFE IGNORANCE IS ALL I HEAR.
IF I TOLD YOU THE TRUTH WOULD YOU STILL BE MY FRIEND OR WOULD YOU RUN AND HIDE. IF I TOLD YOU THE TRUTH WOULD YOU TREAT ME THE SAME OR WOULD YOU FEEL I DESERVE TO DIE. YOU MAY FEEL IN YOUR HEAD THAT YOULL BE THE SAME TODAY AS YESTERDAY BUT I HAVE HEARD THAT BEFORE AND IN THE END I KNOW YOU WILL RUN AWAY. BEING ME IS DIFFICULT A NEW STRUGGLE COMES WITH EACH NEW DAY. I HAVE GOTTEN TO A POINT WHERE FOR MYSELF I REFUSE TO KNELL DOWN AND PRAY. I FEAR THAT THE CREATOR HAS PUT ME HERE AS A SPONGE TO ABSORB THE PAIN. I TRY SO HARD TO FIT IN I JUST DRIVE MYSELF INSANE. TRYING TO HIDE MY REALITY I DRIFT INTO A ONE PLAYER GAME PUTTING ON MY MASK I ACCEPT THE TASK OF RUNNING AWAY FROM MY SHAME.
I have started my journey to having a happy life. The summer ended on a high note for me. And autumn was filled with positivity. November 8-11, I attended Spectrums Freedom Course where I learned how to change my way of thinking and reacting in order to get more out of life. (I was invited to go to the class by a person who I had no idea at that time would be such a major part of my near future.)
On November 30, 2012 I returned to my apartment, after being gone for three days, to find it was not as I left it. The two televisions that were given to me were gone along with my entire DVD collection, my DVD player, my laptop, my printer, all of my tools and products for styling hair, my jewelry, two purses and their entire content including the digital camera I earned for my participation in UCLA’s Through Positive Eyes project. The window in my bathroom was broken and dirty hand prints marked the walls of my shower. My bed room was ransacked. I felt so violated and I wanted to fall in to the role of the victim. I felt as if I had called this onto myself. I can be quoted saying “I don’t have anything” I repeated these words to everyone whenever I spoke about finally getting my own place.
So from now on I choose to acknowledge what I do have. My really nice super soft sofa and cream colored chair that I was blessed to buy for $40, the 2 burgundy arm chairs gifted to me by my doctor, the Microwave gifted to me by the women I call my second mom, a black stove that I bought for only $50, a borrowed mini fridge that gets the job done, and a closet full of clothes. They may not all fit but I also have the ability to slim down and change my body or slowly work on getting new clothes.
Now back to the person who invited me to this life changing weekend seminar; I feel like each day brings me closer to her. She was one of the few people who didn’t react or ask a million questions when I told her about me being HIV positive. She invited me to participate in the Freedom Course with her and to this day she reminds me to use the lessons that I have learned to help me deal with my stressors. While in the class we were invited to be open about our feelings and honest with the people in the room as a way to ensure that we get the most out of the course. I stood up on the 3rd day and told 14 other students and staff that I was born HIV positive. On day 4 I didn’t want to go back because I was sure no one would want to sit next to me or talk to me but to my surprise everyone still accepted me and offered to hug me. My disclosure didn’t have to come with an explanation or apology. I didn’t have to go into educator mode just to make them feel comfortable with me being in the room with them. I felt “normal.” I felt like I put way to much energy into those three letters. I sat in that room the first 2 days with my preconceived notions and assumption and I did to them what people normally do to me. I judged with no evidence and I stereotyped everyone to be closed minded and uneducated on the facts.
Shortly after finishing the class I started to look into myself and try to locate the things that truly bring me joy and pleasure. I have accepted the fact that I have an opinion in the turns my life will make. I have spent 27 years trying to please others but my life is my story to be written by me. First major discovery about Lynnea’s life, she prefers dating women. I’m sure this will surprise a few people who thought they knew me but to those who really know me this shouldn’t be a surprise…… to be continued…
I just completed the freedom course of the Spectrum Life Design Program. In the class I have learned so much about how I can re-create myself. The first thing I need to do is except the things that I fight with and realize the more I fight the harder I make it. I also learned that my feeling like I am nothing is not bad. To create is to make SOMETHING out of NOTHING! I am on the right path and excited about who I am going to become.
I will no longer be the girl that has great ideas that dont materialize. I am the author of my life and my success is not optional IT IS A MUST!!!
I was given the chance to look deeply into my own thought process and pin point what makes me feel the way I do. I was in the habit of blaming and playing the victim instead of looking at the things that I do to make myself feel like I am right. I have the option to live my life guilt free and un- victimized
I have made a choice to accept only positive thoughts. This means I have to stop the “feel-bad-for-me” post. I claim
A FLAT TUMMY!
2X’S MORE HAIR THEN WHAT I CUT OFF
A SUBSTANTIAL RELATIONSHIP
AND ALL THINGS GOOD AND PURE, EASY AND STRESS FREE
I am the creator of my destiny, the author of my life, and I am ready to do the work to make my dreams a reality! I suggest you jump on board and claim some greatness of your own. You get out of life what you put into
I feel like I almost have to trick people into being “o.k.” with me. I have started to work a normal 9-5 job and I’m deeply afraid of my HIV status being found out. I don’t know why I feel like I have to be secretive and private about something that is such a minor part of my life. HIV has been a major part of society for so long that I feel like I shouldn’t have to fear rejection any more. Its funny I started talking to a person that I am attracted to and have been for a while. I’ve known this person for a few years now and when I first met them the vibes were strong and I felt like they wanted to explore the possibilities of a relationship with me. This person even made comments about how much they like me. I was called attractive and sexy and the smile that was on my face was as bright and fake as a neon green sky because I felt like as soon as they found out about my illness they wouldn’t feel the same. That person ended up in a relationship that recently ended and I felt like the stars might still be there so with me being the new open and honest person that I am I spilled my guts one night after hanging out with that person. We have been talking daily since then but I am hurt about the fact that the vibes I got in the beginning are gone. No more stars. Just a friend.
I honestly do appreciate all my friends but they don’t fill the empty spaces in my heart. I am truly missing the kind of love that can only be filled by that special person. the one who will have your back no matter what, the one who will laugh and cry with you, talk and listen to you, love and hold you. My last relationship made me fill that space with concrete. but just like the sidewalks that concrete wears down and cracks over time. The emptiness hurts and after a while it will drive you crazy.
What is it about this virus that yells “BE MY FRIEND AND NOTHING MORE!” Positively Beautiful is my motto but sometimes I wish I could drop the “Positively ” and just be beautiful. As I type this out I realize tonight is going to be one of those long lonely nights. Despite the fact that I’m in a house full of people I feel like I’m at the bottom of a ditch screaming and crying but no one can hear me. The quick hugs and pats on the back are cute but not enough sometimes. I feel stupid for feeling like this but I think everybody need somebody.I know a few people who have had children to get the unconditional love that they desire. But for me to have a child would be the most selfish thing I could do. I know the risk of me infecting the man or baby are low as long as I adhere to my medication and keep my viral load at an undetectable level but I still know that I’m sick and may not be around long enough to raise my own child.
I try to drown myself in work and activities to ignore the fact that I’m alone but when the sun goes down and the world is asleep I’m left alone with my thoughts and my nightmares. Dreams that I’m running away from and angry mob of people who wish me harm. I run out of places to hide and I’m tired of running. Ive spent my life hiding and running but what do I do now. I face the mob. Alone. Tired the sad part is that when I stop running they just run past me and I realize that it wasn’t me that they were after in the first place. I am nothing.