AIDS20and20Meaning.doc

AIDS20and20Meaning.doc - Retaining Multiple Meanings:...

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Retaining Multiple Meanings: Coming to terms with the reality realities of HIV and AIDS Jennifer Ford April 20, 2002
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Ford 2 Retaining meaning for HIV and AIDS: Contents I. Introduction A. A. Personal intro B. B. How did HIV come to have meaning for us? How did we lose it? 1. Research from Treichler’s chapters 1 and 8 2. Research from Patton II. What AIDS meant to my body A. Research from Nutritional Healing B. Research from Treichler ch. 8 C. Physical reaction III. What AIDS meant on December 15, 2001 A. Reflection, story B. The process of telling myself and the people around me IV. What AIDS meant to my family and friends A. Family: Letters/submissions/emails from family members B. Friends: Letters etc. from friends V. How can we effectively understand AIDS in today’s world?
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Ford 3 Introduction: On December 6 th 2001, I was tested for HIV by Whitman Walker's mobile testing unit. I was doing my civil duty, and was not worried since I had been tested recently and my results had come back negative. On December 14th however, amidst my other daily chores, I went to student health and was dealt the biggest, most forceful blow of my life; my results had come back positive for HIV antibodies. These results were 99% accurate, and the counselor that gave me my results told me that I wasn't dying but should begin to deal with the fact that things needed to and were going to change even though I was still the same person. On the 18th I had a confirmatory blood test done, for good measure, for which I did not receive the results before I left for Winter break (your face is required to pick up results). Dealing with the shock of this was the most intense experience I could ever imagine living through. Though I had been rather educated on HIV, I of course let my caution slip to the side because it felt so far from me. I proceeded to slide my way blindly through exams, spending more time reading about the disease, its statistics, its treatments, its research plans. I started telling all of my closest friends. I came home and told my family. I began, on top of mourning for myself and my friends and family, to understand the unimaginable pain and trials of being HIV positive. I also, during this time, became aware of an entire community working toward awareness and wellness. The passion and comradeship I saw inspired me. When I came back from break I had started to settle into my new life as a young woman with HIV. On Tuesday January 15th I went back to the clinic with my ever-loyal mother in tow and my incredibly supportive family and friends waiting to hear from me. I was there for my intake interview, an initial physical, and as a side dish the confirmatory
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Ford 4 results. The lab had some trouble finding my results right away, so I started my intake session. A knock on the door brought me something I had not even let myself consider- I was the 1% that came back with negative confirmatory results. I am HIV negative, and want to share my story with people who are in denial like I was before this whole
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AIDS20and20Meaning.doc - Retaining Multiple Meanings:...

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