After a long time of silence, isolation, (and some suggestions from my therapist), I feel the need to open up, reach out, and hopefully connect with other women who are older (over 50) and HIV+ who may feel as I do.
My name is Donna, I am 57 years old, and I have been HIV+ since 1990. Lately, it feels like I've been HIV+ forever. I've started Crixivan with 3TC and 4DT. It seems to consume my whole day with all the water you have to drink plus the pill schedule. Sometimes I want to throw all the pills away, I really do.
I have over the last few months (the truth - the last 4 years) felt alone with this virus. I have tried many times to find other women that are my age to connect with, so that I would not feel that I am the only older woman who is HIV+. After awhile, there was no one of similar circumstances to relate to and I would forget that I am HIV+. My health has been good and hopefully with the protease inhibitors, my energy and motivation will come back. Isolation can creep up on you or be a quiet presence. We are kept busy with appointments, coming and going from the clinic, taking medication, trying to remember to eat, that only when we stop and are by ourselves, we realize that we are alone with our thoughts and silence (nothing at the moment to distract us). Then it becomes too quiet and I don't know about you but I instantly turn the TV on for sound. Once I start to stay in my apartment - leaving the world out there becomes easy - flannel PJ's, my favorite junk food and TV- it would take a fire to have me give that up, or a wonderful vacation!
I feel some of the heavy feeling of being older and HIV+ is finding someone over 50 whom is HIV+ too. Keeping feelings (both highs and lows) inside can be anything from being afraid to die to feeling good about finally taking care of yourself. Without that red light (HIV) I would have kept going with my life just the way it was - eating all and any food.
A confusing area for me is when I do not feel good - I am tired, depressed, my appetite is gone, etc. I am not sure if I
(Continued on page 4)