It can Happen To Anyone
I found out I was HIV positive in December of 2020 at 71 years old. I stayed in the hospital for 20 days after they found out what was wrong. I had four or five different things that were going on with me. I had double pneumonia and meningitis. I had gone to the hospital because I seemed to be having a cold that just wouldn’t quit. I figured I needed to know whatever was going on because I wasn't getting any better and I was losing all this weight. They said I had AIDS.
For the life of me I couldn't figure out where I got it from or how it happened. I do realize that my immune system was bad. I had gone to my primary care person to try and figure out what was wrong, and she had told me that my immune system was compromised, and I asked her, “So how do I un-compromise my immune system? What do you do?” and she said, “I don’t know.” She really didn’t give me any further guidance. At the hospital, they didn’t even talk about how I got HIV. They didn’t even ask me what happened. They didn’t even ask any questions. I had no idea. I never had any health issues until 2020. What did I do to get it?
After I was diagnosed, I called all the men that I could remember that I had sex with in the last 15-20 years. One of them was dead, so I couldn’t ask him or tell him that I had tested positive for it. But the rest I told, and they didn’t have any problems at all. They all said they were HIV negative. They prescribed me medication for my HIV and all these other things I had going on, so I’ve been taking medications since January of 2021. That was when I got my Biktarvy, one of the medications I take. I got funding for it because I couldn’t afford to buy it, and then I tried to find other people that were like me. I had never run across anybody that had HIV. I had a cousin, one that I didn't really know or anything, who died from AIDS related illness. Beyond that I don’t really have a frame of reference or anybody in my circle of friends, or close relatives.
I achieved my goal last year. I've been undetectable for almost a year now. I take my meds every day. It was kind of amazing to me not to know how I got HIV and the fact that I had to get all this medicine to become undetectable. It still boggles my mind when I think about it because I can't think of a rhyme or a reason for it. Just for me, it’s very confusing because how can something like this happen to me, and I have no clue? That’s what really got me is that I had no real control of what, when, where, how, or why. That’s one of the reasons why I choose to share my story because if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.