Forget the first Thanksgiving—five HIV pilgrims at the Boston Living Center, where HIVers share meals, fun and treatment tips, give thanks (and no thanks) for today.

Julia Tripp, 48

Thanks: That through hard work and personal support, I’ve become self-sufficient and am buying a condominium.
No Thanks: For budget cuts to government services that help the elderly stay in their homes rather than nursing homes.

Alfredo Hernandez, 39

Thanks: That I am healthy enough to empower others living with HIV, and my meds have maintained my immune system.
No Thanks: That I have to stay in this country for better health care, which has kept me away from my family in Mexico. But more so, I’m not thankful that the neuropathy in my feet is still killing me.

Victor Blanco, “thirtysomething”

Thanks: For life, because people in other countries are dying [without treatment], and we are blessed for living here in America.
No Thanks: For the war [in Iraq].

H. Bruce Baldwin, 54

Thanks: For the love and compassion of Geo, my partner of seven years.
No Thanks: For President Bush.

Donald Graham, 47

Thanks: For HIV treatment, which enables me to work, and for the Living Center.
No Thanks: For people who are “looking to get the gift.” HIV is not a gift.