by Paul B. San Diego, CA
My problem was one that wasn't seen as a "problem" by mainstream America... prescription medicine addiction.
After a car accident and my back being injured, my doctor prescribed pain killers. After taking these, I noticed that I had the feeling of feeling "drugged".
Didn't think anything about driving on these meds or how they would mix with alcohol. The combination of meds and alcohol would cause black outs where I had no idea how I had gotten to the place I ended up at night.
Of course, in this state, your reasoning and defenses are down. You don't think clearly. One of those nights, I slept with someone that was HIV positive. A few weeks later it felt like I had a really bad case of the flu. On a regular HIV check, I found out I was HIV positive.
My whole world seems to cave in. I was in denial for months and it probably is why my immune system deteriorated so quickly. I should have been on medications.
If you find out you're positive, seek medical help. Don't bury your head in the sand. And if you're having any problems with substance abuse, of any kind, see help. You need to take care of yourself to fight this virus.
I wish anyone with HIV my sympathy. It really opened my eyes as to how hard living with HIV can be if you don't take care of yourself. Put yourself first and take care of your health.