Living with AIDS - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Living with AIDS

December 1, 2003

Albany-- Eight-thousand people around the world die every day of AIDS--  that's three million a year. But one Albany man, who was diagnosed with HIV two years ago, says he doesn't want to be the next person to die.

Though he didn't want to show his face on TV, he bravely talks with children and adults about the deadly disease. One 45-year-old man receives his bi-monthly blood test to monitor his health. "I've been living with HIV for two-and-a-half years."

He contracted the disease through unprotected heterosexual sex. "It was heartbreaking, but I know if I want to continue living I have to take my medicine."

His inspiration is basketball star Magic Johnson, who's been living with the disease for 12 years. "If he can speak out, I can speak out. My job now is to a life to keep living and try to teach people."

Now he teaches others how to stop HIV/AIDS from spreading and taking more lives. Mainly by practicing protected sex, and never using intravenous drugs. "Every day I live, and pray, and try to spread the knowledge that I have on AIDS."

Nurse Mattie Shiloh works with AIDS patients and says early detection is the key to living a longer life. And, she stresses testing is strictly confidential. "Testing is private. Only you and the person performing the test know the results." "They can come up with all types of medicine, but there's not a cure for it yet." This man faces the frightening reality of AIDS but he won't die without fighting to keep other alive.

Thanks to advancement in medication, people with HIV can live 20 years or more. You can get a free AIDS test at the Dougherty County health department, and you can even get free medication if diagnosed with the disease.

posted at 6:10PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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