candles on stairs

I’m in the throes of editing my newest book, which is a narrative memoir about my daughter’s life and death. Yes, she lived for twenty long years with HIV/AIDS and fought valiantly for a life worth living. She was able to marry a wonderful man, have a child and somehow manage to remain kind, loving and upbeat, even though life was tough for her as a woman suffering from the ravages of this cruel disease spectrum. As her mom, it was a horrendous ending, to witness the last breath of my own only child at age 36. There she was, lying there in a hospice house that is now defunct. There I was, sitting on the edge of her tiny bed, holding her frail hand and peering into the face of a ghostlike bony figure as she slowly inhaled, exhaled, then stopped.  Hers was a death with love, caring and dignity. There are no more hospice programs for HIV-infected persons like this, as the “cocktail” of drugs is now assumed to do the job. I miss her. Thankfully I have a healthy zealous granddaughter, age 16, who lives with her dad and step mom who helps me keep her memory alive.

 

Thinking back to the power of sex, it occurs to me that we must think and feel reverence for sex as a force to be reckoned with. It brings us into this world (think conception), and can take us out, thanks to one effective infective dosage of a fatal disease. Sex is the life force energy in us all. Let’s treat it with respect.

 

Facts: Only one quarter of the 1.1 million people with HIV have their condition under control, where “under control” means the virus has been suppressed, according to a report released this summer by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Only if we get everyone under regular care for HIV/AIDS can we recognize the full benefits of treatment and prevention,” Irene Hall, an epidemiologist at the CDC and one of the authors of the report, told HealthDay. …

Many Young People Don’t Know Their HIV Status

 

More than half of HIV-infected young people are unaware that they have the virus, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

 

(HuffPo. 10/23/13)

 

 

Today, only 25% of those in medications for treatment for HIV/AIDS will thrive. There are new developments each week that we can read about in the news, like stem cell variations, bone marrow transplants, anti-retroviral drugs, or new technological advances. 34.2 million people worldwide have HIV and the death rate is still in the millions. For those like my own daughter—with the horrific side effects, the inability to maintain the regimens required, the lack of affordability to obtain proper medications, and the sheer discipline needed to stay healthy—all of this can erode a life.

 

I hope that in reading this essay you will take a deep breath today. Inhale the breath of life itself into your nose, into the lungs and let it bathe you with its potential. Life is for living. Sex is best when it’s for loving. Live and love well.

 

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