New York, New York
Positive since 2014
My husband and I tested positive in September 2014. We are both very anti–big pharma, so at first, it was an easy choice to say no to antiretrovirals. Over the past three years, we have held strong on our natural quest. It takes a lot of researching online and listening to conversations others are having, including natural treatments for cancer. Many natural treatments heal more than one illness. We started using black seed oil within 30 days of researching it. We have added European-strength oil leaf extract, all-organic eating and red wine as an alcohol choice—there are absolutely no processed or fast foods in our regimen. Since we live in New York City, we walk a ton, so no need for additional exercise. We do not own a car, and we are not desk job people. We found that not worrying about the HIV but focusing on building the immune system is the best for us. Raw honey, green olives stuffed with garlic and tons of other easy healthy foods are what your belly needs to thrive.
Our viral loads have stayed below 30,000. Last month mine went down 4,000. Our doctor was so happy at our last checkup. We were listed in her records as “untreated” clients. She said we should keep whatever we are doing. We also take at least two times the recommended doses of vitamin B and vitamin D.
We are extremely open about being HIV positive. I think that, too, has helped, as we simply have a virus, and there is no shame in that. And by being so open, we have people contacting us all the time with information they have heard about for us to research.
What three adjectives best describe you?
Upbeat. Healthy. Natural.
What is your greatest achievement?
Living until 62.
What is your greatest regret?
I really don’t have any. Everything has been a learning moment.
What keeps you up at night?
Having an argument with my husband.
If you could change one thing about living with HIV, what would it be?
I really don’t let HIV control my life. I don’t really even think about it much.
What is the best advice you ever received?
From my cousin, who is a doctor: Worry about your immune system. That is your main concern.
What person in the HIV/AIDS community do you most admire?
To be honest, me and then my husband.
What drives you to do what you do?
Love and light. That drives me in everything.
What is your motto?
Be open, honest and out.
If you had to evacuate your house immediately, what is the one thing you would grab on the way out?
Our cat. The dog would just run with us.
If you could be any animal, what would you be? And why?
I prefer being human, or I would have been born as something else.
Antiretroviral therapy is recommended for all people living with HIV, regardless of CD4 cell count, to reduce the risk of AIDS- and non-AIDS-related illnesses. Deciding to start HIV treatment—and figuring out which drugs to start with—is, perhaps, one of the most difficult decisions you will need to make. Learning all you can about the pros and cons of your various treatment options is your best weapon in the fight against HIV. For more info, visit https://www.poz.com/basics/hiv-basics/starting-hiv-treatment.