My Story

Paul Weber

What Hiv means to me. It means many different things to me. HIV means a lot of things to a lot of people. To some it is viewed as a horrible source of fear. To others it is something to be ashamed of. To me,. it is something that is part of me now. It doesn't just fade, or go away. Its not a cold I can get over. It is a very real and serious illness. HIV. and issues associated to it can mean a lot of things to different people. There is a psychology behind it. Some people deal and cope with the knowledge of thier positive status, and other people, well they deal with it differently. HIV is very personal to me. I have it. I could spread it. There are duties and responsabilities not only to myself, but to other people and society. I have to be (safe) with other people. I have to think about How my life might be shorter somehow. HIV is not a curse. The people who are my loved ones, still love and care for me, and in fact seem even more loving yet concerned when I confided my status to them. I continue to live a fruitfull life. I maintain a job in this difficult economy. I remain active, and try to lead a moderately (healthy) lifestyle. I have had to make some changes in my life; with regards to the knowlege of positive status. I have had to take greater care of myself and greater care for others. I hope for a cure one day like most people who have contracted, do. I visit my doctor more often now; I am getting more cofortable with it all. I used to ask myself, Why me. . I know the answer. Actions have reactions. Things have consequnces. Time has changed my views of it. When I was younger, I saw it as a scourge, to be feared. . like a contageous plague, that would wipe out humanity. It was something to be feared for me, akin to a nuclear halocaust. Growing up as a child, in the end of the cold war; It was a very real thret, and I viwed it in the same way, I viewed HIV. I later learned that that's not how HIV spreads, or works. There are People who have misconceptions about HIV. I have a certain sense of duty to inform people about the disease, in order to help raise awareness; and possibly prevent future cases of HIV infection. One of the ways I can do it is through my art. it is my hope that at times in my art, I can reference HIV in symbols and metaphors, and text. I get images and foggy visions of things, when I am in my creative muse. I put these thoughts and images in medium. such as print, or drawing, or painting. It could be thought of, as what I "see" when I close my eyes and think of the topic. My art has helped me deal and cope with issues associated to HIV. It can be very therapeutic. There is a Medical component when I think of HIV. It means tests, it means going to medical offices and hospitals. (Im' not real keen on going to medical offices or hospitals in general). It means choices. possibly medications and medical care. It means having to protect myself, as well as others. It means so many things. There are little things about living with HIV,. that people who do not have it, may not think about. Like: What if I cut myself. What if I get sick. Will my lifespan be shorter than other people. My quality of life, is of major concern. I am not one, to sit down and give up. I am going to fight. I will fight with the tools I have been given. I can help fight to raise money for research. I can fight to help against Anti-HIV. sentiments. and sero-bigotry. The Knowledge of things can be empowerment. Knowing your status can help to make better choices. Living each day to the fullest, with care and compassion, are milestones to live by for anyone. They are what I try to go by. Everyone wants to be loved. People with HIV can be loved and Cared for just like everyone else. This is my story. Thank you.