May #144 : The Stand - by Sharon Maxwell

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Table of Contents

HIV: Behind the Music

Taking Care of Business

Not by Meds Alone

No Viral Load=No Transmission?

The Stand

Staphing Up


Heads of the Class

Heartburn Hotel

Protein Shakers

Mercury Rising

Britain: Hep C Rings Twice

Pill-Taking Tip

Cardio Risk Raiser

Cholesterol Downer

What's a Girl to Do?

Runaway Hit

The Mother of All HIV Tests

Lights! Camera! Bareback Action!

Prom Night Prep

Apply as Directed

Strong-arming HIV

Healing Fields

Jargon: DWI

Keeping Up With the Joneses

Melrose Place 2.0


Rock Out

Ladies First

Editor's Letter-May 2008

Mailbox-May 2008

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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May 2008

The Stand

by Sharon Maxwell

Do you remember when you were 3? I do. The year was 1950, and I had just caught a virus called polio. I couldn’t walk, and my family was quarantined in our home. My mother said everyone feared this new virus: No one wanted their children to play with someone who had polio, swim in the same pool, or use the same glasses, silverware or bathroom facilities. I began my lifelong journey of wearing a leg brace.

As I grew up, I had to decide: Would I become a victim or become independent? I chose the latter. I became a graphic designer, photographer and artist. I became a stronger woman, and everyone eventually accepted my polio because it was part of me, Sharon.

Then, in 1994, I contracted another virus: HIV. My first thought was “Not again!” Here comes the familiar stigma, fear and anxiety about telling anyone I was living with disease. Fear that people would not look past the diagnosis to see the real person inside—a fully independent, funny, honest, bohemian woman.

Why have we learned to accept polio but not HIV? They are both viruses—sure, different types, but why should that matter? I’m still the same little girl wearing that brace and swinging from the monkey bars. I’ve just grown up to be a woman who wants the world to recognize me for who I am—a woman first, then a person wearing a brace and, finally, someone living with AIDS. Having one disability has helped me to deal with another. Polio gave me my freedom, and I will not give it up to AIDS.             

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  comments 1 - 3 (of 3 total)    

linda underwood, st. louis, 2008-12-09 12:28:37
Your story is inspiring and I'd love to talk to you again. Feel free to email me.

Em, , 2008-05-24 16:17:10
Sharon, I saw your all-too-brief story today for the first time. If you are inclined to write more, I would look forward to reading it. Like Dragonette, I would like another sip of Maxwell's inspiration---we know it's gotta be good to the last drop!

Dragonette, Netherlands, 2008-05-10 02:43:53
Dear Sharon Thanks for sharing your story, I would love to hear more, is there any chance for a followup and more detail? You are an immensly inspiring woman, please share some more of your inspiration. Thank you

comments 1 - 3 (of 3 total)    

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