Since receiving my HIV/AIDS diagnosis on December 1, 2012, I’ve looked back at how many people have helped get me to where I am today. It’s said that it takes a “village” to assist a person with HIV. I’ll attempt to identify the people of my “village”:
21 medical doctors and medical specialists have and/or are currently treating my symptoms.
1 primary care physician, since the original diagnosis, an infectious disease doctor specializing in HIV/AIDS.
4 hospitals, with countless nurses, nurse techs, lab techs, food service and housekeepers.
2 stays in Intensive Care Units with around the clock nurses.
5 testing facilities for numerous x-rays, MRI’s, other type of scans and lab work.
8 out of town blood labs that analysis blood draws.
City, County, State and Federal agencies that coordinate medical, health and basic living accommodations.
4 case managers and countless counselors guiding my every step
1 Federal Judge who presided over my Social Security Disability Appeals Hearing, and the court reporter and occupational therapist.
5 Care Team members who have/are volunteer their time to guarantee I get to and from my appointments, run errands and a receptive ear when I feel lost.
1 in-home nurse who visits every other week to make sure I am receiving the best care possible and that my basic and medical needs are being met.
28+ friends living with HIV who share their fears, tears, disappointments and frustrations of living with HIV.
4 Austin AIDS Service Organizations and their staffs who give their all to do whatever they can to make my quality of life better.
Newspaper, TV, photographers, reporters and magazine staffs who have given me the opportunity to let my voice be heard so to share my story of hope to others.
Thousands of faceless, nameless individuals who freely and compassionately give of their time, talents and money supporting the many organizations and services I depend on daily.
Countless Pharmacists who fill my 22 prescriptions and followup with instructions of how and when to take my meds.
1 dietitian and 1 nutritionist to guide my daily nutritional needs.
1 Physical therapist
2 Lawyers and a number of legal aids who assisted in my appeals for SS Disability
Countless friends, who are my daily strength and encouragement, empowering me to see my dreams.
??? How many others I can’t recall right now.
As you can surmise, I’ve been blessed with more than a “village”, but an entire “CITY”, one that has and continues to support my fight with HIV/AIDS. I’m so very grateful for my “CITY” and thankful that they have and will continue to be there for me. That’s a whole lot of gratitude I owe to thank my “CITY”. I can’t possibly thank everyone, but what I can do is volunteer my time, dedication, passion and efforts to educate and share my story. With my voice I’m able to extend my gratitude, to GIVE BACK to my “CITY” by doing my small part towards making our world free of HIV.
That’s why I became an HIV/AIDS Advocate.