Dancing with the Devil
By Rogue Marbie Scott
(This piece was written for a friend & never published until now)
Young people today seem to get swept off their feet faster than swamp bug in a hot skillet but don’t seem to be very nimble minded at their worst. Not knowing a partners status can lead to them falling very dangerously in love, engaging in sexual activity that will define the latter. It’s hard to fabricate the notion of your spine being chilled with a cold breeze sweeping over your body making your hairs stand on end and finding out that you have been tested positive for HIV. So frightening is the idea that many people would rather walk through life just not knowing the horror that may come out of the darkness and into their lives, they just don’t get tested.
So you have been tested positive? Has the Grim reaper come to collect you? What now?
Being tested positive in today’s world is not like being tested positive in the oh-so gloomy days of the 80’s, it does not mean life for you has to come to an abrupt halt either. The many treatments to prevent infection and help you live a normal life with HIV rather than die of AIDS have grown. Being HIV positive doesn’t necessarily mean you have AIDS. It is a virus that slowly attacks the immune system, causing you to be more prone to infections that are considered AIDS defining. Whilst there are treatments of the many out there to help those amongst us living with HIV, there is not yet a cure. The treatments dramatically whip the virus into slowly multiplying. Being simple about it, with the right professional care, you can live with HIV for many years.
So your Doctor/consultant has used obviously unfamiliar jargon with such as, CD4 and Viral Load right? Lets break it down. CD4 = The Mighty Morphing Power Ranger Cells. CD4 cells are the most important cells in the immune system. Our immune system protects us at it’s best from infections and illness. If your body is producing CD4 counts of over 350 (cells per drop of blood), where treatment isn’t usually recommended you’re in the safe zone. However below the army of 350 your Doctor/consultant would most probably advise treatments right away and definitely will if you count is below 200, so the more the better. Although you can’t raise your CD4 count alone without treament, there are certainly ways for you to help keep and maintain it. Change of diet or the healthy diet you are already accustomed to, exercise regularly, getting enough sleep helps in many ways, giving up smoking and drinking in moderation, all the stuff we should be doing you will find you will have to do more so now. Viral Load = The fly in the ointment (HIV cells). We want to keep these devils in blue dress down to a minimal, if you are told that your viral load is below 10,000 this is relatively good but there are chances of it rising if you are not already receiving treatment and your Doctor/consult may advise for you to start treatment. If your viral load is above 10,000 and 1 million, it’s obviously high and you should be on treatment, your Doctor will go through with you the different types of treatment that are currently available and which ones best suit your needs. Once on treatment if and when your viral load has become lower 50 and less, it is know as ‘Undetectable’ viral load, which is the aim of the treatment, to keep viral load almost invisible, that does not mean you have been cured or that you can not spread the infection, it means that your treatment is working, your healthy and those dancing devils in blue dresses are having a harder time in mass producing.
The amount of people after all the estimates and known cases of people living with HIV is obviously unknown, but now that you know, all is that much better. Yes you can still go to the supermarket and do your weekly grocery shopping, go out with your peers and have a drink or too, yes those concerts will all want to go to are still available to you too. Life may have given you a lemon, but you can make so much more than lemonade now, you have options and there are a variety of organisations out there in the UK that are here to help. You don’t have to suffer in the silence of tears streaming down your face, you can use local GUM clinics for support and advice (Genito-urinary medicine), social workers, counselors and if the time is right for you, your friends and family and although it is hard, you must tell all your sexual partners (Unsafe and safe sex-wise). Just because you have danced with the devil, it doesn’t mean you have to crack and turn into shambles like it wants you to do. “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer” you’ve heard the phrase no doubt, get to know the devil in the blue dress and help yourself get your life back to a better, healthier one, knowledge is power. Most importantly look after yourself and protect others.
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Rogue M Scott
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