It’s my birthday. I am 67 today – so yes, I am still alive in case you were wondering. It’s been fourteen years since my diagnosis – fourteen years on meds. They say HIV these days is a manageable condition, just pop a few pills and get on with it. But it takes so much more that that as if you are positive you will know only too well.

Manageable? How I hate that word. Well, what if you can’t bloody manage? Pop some more pills the doctor will prescribe, then it’s a case of one pill fighting another – robbing Peter to pay Paul, which is exactly how I manage my what has become dire money situation. As you get older you are less able to manage anything, especially money and let alone HIV. The truth is they haven’t a clue what the future holds in store for those of us ageing with it do they? Its unchartered waters!

Fourteen years on meds and yes I was managing to a point and then recently I had a Blip. I don’t know whether you’ve ever had the misfortune to experience one (a blip in HIV terms is a sudden and unexpected reappearance of the virus) but it is terrifying. It means the virus has woken up and showed its ugly head. It means it is still there no matter how many toxic pills you swig down your neck. My blip was apparently caused by stress – in my case by someone I cared about ripping me off and being forced to realise that they had only been using me for years. Also being ‘used’ by other people. I was fed up, sickened with the world especially the HIV world. Didn’t want to write, blog, paint, even live at some points. In a word I stopped caring and that is a horrible state of mind to be in. And that is the reason I haven’t updated hivine for so long.

But I am back, my blip is over. Everything has gone back more or less to normal, except I’ve now been told that I am borderline diabetic. This apparently can be caused by age or the meds, they just don’t know – none of us have lived long enough for them to find out. But diabetes is becoming increasingly common in HIV positive people.

No doubt I’ll ‘manage’ but as far as I can see living with HIV is like being in an abusive relationship. You tiptoe round it, try not to upset it, wake it up – like an abusive partner who has fallen asleep drunk. As the expression goes, Let sleeping dogs/drunks/abusive partners lie. Living with HIV is yet another form of domestic abuse. HIV is a cowardly bully who in its heart wants to see you off. It’s a constant battle – like Punch and Judy.

But no matter how hard it is to take the meds at times and the long term side effects that they can cause, (some of which they’re only just finding out) don’t stop. Because whichever way you look at it, living with HIV is better than not living at all.  Or is it – I open the great debate!!




  1. Unfortunatelly the data about elderly women (excuse me Adrienne 😉 ) living long time with HIV and taking medication for a long time like you do are “rare”. From what i know is that the body of women react differently on HIV medication than the body of man. Pharma producers have giving that fact little attention. To my knowledge there are no studies with women only which is a disgrace. -> Women under-represented in HIV clinical trials ->

    There are articles in german “Frauen und HIV – gezielte Forschung ist notwendig” meaning “Women and HIV – Systematic research is necessary” (If you have a friend male*female with knowledge of german language . . . )


    The “long term side effects of HIV (32 years) and medication (18 years)” in my case for example are not very pleasent. polyneuropathy in both of my feet and legs, peripheral neuropathy on some other parts of my body and amyotropia in my arms and legs . As a result i since feb 26th i ve been on an hospital odysee. Since june 6th i m a “resident of an residential care home for the elderly” lying 24/7 in bed on my back. But and that s the good news my HIV medication is working fine. My virus load is undetectable, the HePC is healed and my immune system is stable. Now ain´t that a thrill? 😉

    My personal view of my life is “illness are part of life – belong to life”. Meaning without the sun there would be no moon. Without day there would be no night. They belong together, are part of each other – interlinked.

    Of course it would be fantastic if I d be healthy and fit like some new Nike sneakers. I´d be knocking at your door at tea time today with some flowers for you and be celebrating your birthday . 🙂

    I made my peace with my situation. As you said: “living with HIV is better than not living at all”.

    I wish you a happy Birthday with Lady Doods and people you love.


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