Outliving HIV

Lorelei Davis, who was honored as a Local Hero for her work in AIDS education in 1991, wrote to The Indy recently from Arizona.

Gosh, I miss home so much. To give you an update on me and my health, I am now considered a VIP having never taken any of the meds but am now completely virus free. There’s no sign of any viral load nor did I ever convert from HIV to AIDS. Only thing wrong with me is I’m getting old. It’s a strange feeling when at one time I was considered not only an outcast somewhat, but I was also thinking I was going to die tomorrow. Instead I have seven wonderful grandchildren and two crazy dogs and my life is full.

I spend my days painting and still at times speaking because there are still some very ignorant people, and some very intelligent ones, who still don’t get it and put themselves at risk. To those infected or affected, never forget and never give up. Only you can protect yourself, not your spouse or partner. Just because there are meds out there doesn’t always mean they will work for you or be affordable. So continue to live, love, and laugh, but safely.

I still think about and miss those we lost in the earlier years. What a sacrifice they went through from the crazy treatments and drugs and outrageous doses. In reality, they died for those who are alive today. Way back then I believed they would find a way to treat it, as they have other and worse killers that we have today, but not to find a cure. When a female researcher from England at the ‘90 world AIDs conference in San Francisco said she had been able to kill the virus in vitro and wanted to start human trials, they shot her down.

I hope that in years to come people never stop fighting for what they believe in but hopefully in more peaceful and organized demonstrations unlike these kids today in Baltimore.

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