I live with HIV/AIDS. I was infected in hospital, shortly after my birth, because I had to be treated for flu. Approximately 10,000 children have been affected at that time; only 5,000 are still alive today. I discovered my disease at the age of 10. I remember it was during the world Cup in France, I saw a newspaper article about children infected by HIV in Constanta, which is my home town. From there I connected all the dots.
There are two issues that are affecting my life and the one of all people living with HIV/AIDS: the therapy and the discrimination that we suffer from. We learn to cope with it, and from my experience two movies helped: “Dallas Buyers Club” which talks about Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and “Philadelphia” about discrimination.
For a person living with HIV, to be adherent to the therapy is very important because this is the simplest way to control our health state. But also to manage what we eat as we need to follow a whole life regimen to remain healthy.
Discrimination is unfortunately still very present in our society. As a person living with a chronic disease we face difficult situations such as not being hired based on our condition, the fear we feel when we have to reveal our status to our loved ones, the fear we have when we think that any flu may be fatal.
But as we know: “What does not kill you makes you stronger”. Information is my power. We have to know our rights and react every time we feel that they are not respected. We have to fight for your rights; that’s for sure. I have also learned to get more out of life, to appreciate simple moments.
Right now I am an HIV activist. In my country I am involved in the biggest patient organisation in this field and I have an NGO that allows me to reach out all the people affected by this condition. We develop activities that improve their lives: support groups, new jobs qualifications, support for the poorest members of the group. I am also advocating for our rights and helping people to get to know their rights and how to act whenever their rights are disregarded