I subscribe to POZONLINE, a magazine that is published 6 times a year and contains a wealth of knowledge. But the other day they had a poll asking a simple yes or no question, “Is AIDS the forgotten epidemic?” I answered yes and then found out that most of the people who answered said the same.
In the early days of HIV/AIDS it seemed that just testing positive was a death sentence but today we are living longer due to newer and better medications. But unless you have the virus yourself or know someone who does, you don’t know the costs of living longer. I’m not just talking about money but also about the pain that you pay by living longer. That isn’t talked about in the media but it is certainly real enough. Bouts of diarrhea, pain in your extremities, fat deposits in different parts of your body like the back of the neck or stomach. Some of the medications can cause you to have diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, liver and kidney problems and yes, some of them can even cause death. And of course all of them seem to cause dry mouth which leaves you with a constant thirst. You don’t hear a lot about these things and for that reason and the fact that we are living longer, people aren’t taking this virus seriously anymore, and they still need to. Having a longer life is great but if you are in pain and don’t want to get addicted to pain killers or have them just knock you out, what good are the extra years?
Doctors and researchers need to do a better job of coming up with medications that help without hurting further. I believe that the physicians oath is “First do no harm” but if it isn’t, it should be. At 62 years young, I am being force into a scooter because a two block walk just about kills me. I’m grateful for the scooter, don’t get me wrong, but I would much rather walk on my own. And this is what people, especially young people need to know, need to see and need to hear.