Monthly Archives: July 2014

Advice from a Caregiver: PART 1

Today we start a new 4 part series in our blog titled “Advice from a Caregiver”. Throughout this series we will share one of our LTAI caregiving members’ experience with HIV and how she supports and cares for her sister. Finding out that a family member has HIV can be very frightening but with education, patience, and perseverance, you can be there to the fullest for your loved one.

What advice would you share with people who have family members that are HIV positive?

I would say they need to be understanding, not judgmental and to get educated. I was about 13 when I found out my sister was diagnosed with AIDS. I didn’t know anything about HIV, so I had a lot of misconceptions. When I found out she had the disease I thought she was going to die, and I now know that’s not the case.

You can hurt your family member’s feelings if you are doing certain things …[actions that are perceived wrong], like stigma. Remember, you can’t catch HIV by touching, hugging or sharing utensils. It can hurt their feelings, more than you can know, if you act like that. The most important thing is to show them love. Just because they have HIV doesn’t mean they change as a person. It is just something they have to handle. They are still your family, so get educated. Personally, for me with my sister, even I still need to get more informed.

What advice can you share? Check back soon for PART 2 of Advice from a Caregiver!



Today we share some strategies and tips on how LTAI members overcome challenges in their lives as part of our “Overcoming” Series. These challenges and tough situations are all around us, but how we handle them makes all the difference!

Here is what they have to say…

“By analyzing the situation, whatever it may be. Then imagine a different outcome that may occur and choosing the one that best suits the situation.”

“Face them head on. Own up, apologize, fess up, move on!”

Look for more great suggestions in our upcoming blog posts and don’t forget to subscribe below!

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Facing Disclosure

When I was first diagnosed with HIV in August of 1996, I was 29, hooked on drugs and alcohol. I thought I was handed a death sentence; I hid my status for 13 years. Sometimes I felt that I was not worthy to live. I carried on as if I didn’t have it. I’d hide doctor’s appointments and rip labels off my medications, stashing them deep in my closet.

One day, after a three-day crack binge, I decided to get sober. I went into Alcoholics Anonymous’ Twelve Step program of recovery. It was during my 4th step of Alcoholics Anonymous that I revealed my status to my sponsor. She is Hepatitis-C positive and I felt somewhat safe. She didn’t run away. Instead, she gently hugged me while crooning how much she loved me until the tears were spent. She suggested reaching out and finding others like me. That was February 5th, 2010. I continued to disclose, one by one, and had many positive experiences. So, I disclosed at a 12 step meeting with a desire to help others in the rooms. The following day, after my disclosure, I had two phone calls from that meeting. One girlfriend said “I am so proud of you and want you to know that you are always welcome in my house.” The next call was similar, except this woman was Hepatitis-C positive and had been hiding it for years. She wanted care, but was emotionally broke! It was a relief to put my fears away and trust in God. I was even able to help her!

If, or when, I meet someone ugly or cruel to me, I realize that person is the loser, not I! This is a good day in the world of HIV. I often feel grateful to have contracted this virus, especially after my rapid disclosure. I organized my priorities; my motives are pure. I want to help others and I had to get myself out of the way! This took two years!

What’s the bottom line? Everyone must move at their own speed; fear can stop us! I’ve turned fear into courage. Life IS good.


Today we share a suggestion that one of our LTAI blog readers, Ellen, would like to share with everyone about the importance of meds. Check out one of Ellen’s other posts HERE!


If I have one suggestion to make it’s this, “TAKE YOUR MEDICATION EVERYDAY.” It will save your life as it has mine. Make a chart if you need to, but make sure you take them.

If you have something you would like to share with the LTAI blog community – a post, inspirational quote, video, etc. – feel free to submit it through our Suggestion/Submission Box. We’d love to post it!