In 1989, at the age of nineteen, I was diagnosed HIV positive. I had gone to have the test done at the advice of a friend who had watched my health decline rapidly over the previous year. The two weeks waiting for my test results were an eternity of anxiety.
My state of health (mental and physical) at the time was not very good. I had been unemployed for a short time and had not been eating right or taking any measures to better my health. The day I received my test results, I weighed 125 pounds. Being six feet tall, I can only imagine how bad I must have looked. At the time, it looked as if I would live no more than a year, maybe two.
Over the next year, I battled with depression and numerous illnesses. I had a severe case of eczema that covered my whole body and lasted over six months and several bouts of what I can only describe now as severe bronchitis and respiratory infection.
I never had a doctor to diagnose this bronchitis, being unaware that I could receive any medical assistance. I knew that I certainly couldn’t afford to see a doctor on my own. Friends took care of me on and off as best they knew how. I spent the next six months moving from one place to another and working at different odd jobs and had dropped out of college. It was too much to handle
with all that was happening.
After some time had passed, I had to break down and tell my parents that I was dying. They were very understanding and supportive, but also emotionally devastated. I moved back home to live near my family. They helped me as much as they could with their love and support.
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