I was first diagnosed with HIV in 1986 and received an AIDS diagnosis in 1990. My reaction was panic, a sense of loss and fear since at the time it was a death sentence. I immediately went to local ASO’s and got involved in their support programs including volunteering when possible.
How do you make the most of living with HIV?
Living with HIV for me, is all about starting over, again and again. Every time I have a severe health setback that causes me to lose weight, have a cancer surgery, have a bout of depression, miss the ability to work out and build stamina; I start again from where I am and rebuild my body or routine. Starting over after 8 cancer surgeries and two chemo series for Kaposis Sarcoma is about remembering what is possible from a renewed healthy routine of exercise, diet and social engagement. All anyone healthy or sick has in life is a window of opportunity to make the most of life. Keep the window open as long as possible.
What advice do you have for those unhappily living with HIV?
Start over with whatever has worked for you in the past to build a healthy lifestyle. Baby steps at the beginning like just walking to the market instead of driving and adding to the effort as stamina builds does wonders. If you have no experience with building a healthy life style, observe others who have and ask for their help in constructing your own personal healthy routine. Get involved with a local ASO or go online to blog and seek advice.
Tell us about your Sit Relief product and how it came to be:
After suffering for a long time with Lipoatrophy and watching others with lipoatrophy sitting pain drop out of social opportunities, I decided to stop smuggling cushions into sitting venues like lectures and volunteer meetings and restaurants and invent something we could all wear to prevent sitting pain from a thin buttocks. It took over 5 years of R&D and development, a clinical trial with 40 HIV patients, and lots of favors from people in the garment industry but I eventually went to market with SitRelief Shorts. I sell them online and have helped almost two thousand people with sitting pain lead a more normal life. People absolutely love the Shorts!
- Drummond Marais: Living an Exceptional Life with HIV (pantiesupskirtdown.com)
- Janet Johnson: Living an Exceptional Life with HIV (pantiesupskirtdown.com)