Personal account about a family member affected by HIV/AIDS

Essay by petermoriartyJunior High, 9th gradeA+, March 2005

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In October 1985, a close relative of mine was diagnosed HIV Positive at the age of thirty-four. He was beginning a relationship with a girlfriend and he talked her into going for a HIV test. While he was at the medical clinic, he decided to take a test himself too, although the tests concluded that in fact, his girlfriend was negative while he was positive. How the disease was transmitted to him remains unknown although there is a high possibility that he received the virus from a shared needle, as he was a regular heroin injector.

He was working full-time at that period in his life and was able to continue on with his life for a few years before he started to experience any change to the way he felt. The symptoms came as a surprise to him as doctors had little knowledge of the disease back then.

The first symptoms that significantly affected him were exhaustion and generally feeling sick - classic symptoms of HIV. Soon he had cut his workdays from six down to four days a week. Within another two years he was out of work.

At his time of diagnosis, there was little known about the HIV virus and no treatment was available until the surfacing of AZT in 1987, a drug which would affect the way the virus operated to significantly slow it's multiplying. Since AZT was only a new drug, any one on it was basically a guinea pig to the medication. This medication help greatly to reduce the deterioration of his immune system that kept him alive for much longer than the doctors had previously predicted (The doctors had predicted that he had two years to live after diagnosis).

As the years passed on, he spent his time in and...