20 years and counting

I became infected in 1984 and this month celebrated the fact that not only was it my 51st birthday, but also I had survived twenty years with HIV. On the weekend of my 31st birthday I received an unwanted gift, which unfortunately could not be taken back and exchanged for vouchers. I have thus spent the major portion of my adult life with the virus underlying almost every decision and action. Prognosis for me in early 1985 was that “another six months” was unlikely and that I should ensure that “my affairs were in order”.

I have survived, I believe, through a combination of factors; good luck probably being the most relevant. I have been enormously lucky for the unconditional acceptance and love that I have received from my family and friends and the depth and quality of medical support that I have been privileged to obtain. I’ve worked hard at it as well; not prepared to give up in what is simply an instinctive fight for survival.

Nobody needs telling that life ain’t easy. Fear, depression and loneliness were almost constant companions, but there were lots of good times too. I got into a very intimate and enduring relationship with alcohol, from which I have eventually managed to extract myself. Life and some degree of sanity somehow survived that affair, but it was a very close call at times.

Help us to support people living with HIV and make a donation to NAM today. Thank you.

Subscribe now

Sign up for our free weekly news bulletin.

Find out more and sign up to the full range of aidsmap email bulletins >

Support us

We rely on donations from people like you. Every penny makes a difference.

Donate online now >
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.