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Wellness

When You Lose Your Virginity-a New Age For Women?

I’d been reading several books by women who had made extraordinary life journeys out of life’s minor obstacles, and then suffered what is usually viewed as a humiliating setback. Then one day I received a copy of Women for the New Age magazine (a new age publication for women), which featured this article for women who were living, or planning to live, with AIDS.

I first became involved in the HIV/AIDS community when I was 18. I had never heard anyone describe living with AIDS as a good thing. I started reading about women who were living with HIV as a personal adventure, and as a woman who, unlike most I knew, had not given up on life. For me that was the ultimate turning point. The article and its message have stayed with me ever since. My life has improved so much because of it.

My story of overcoming HIV/AIDS begins more than 50 years ago and goes back to when I was diagnosed with the disease. I lost all my friends, family, and all I had worked so hard to create with my love of life, and the love of my spouse. I lost my house, my car, my home furnishings. In its place I found myself and my family, a wife and mother of seven. But in doing everything I could to get back the family I once had, I still have not been able to return to my old life. It takes more than drugs to bring about our life dream, and yet we seem to only be given treatments that prolong our suffering.

I will now go on to briefly describe and share my story with you of this terrible disease and my personal survival of it. When I was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS I was 22, and at the time I was a year away from completing my Bachelor of Arts in English.   I had a great plan for the future, with new plans for my education, and new projects for my life. But, I had never felt stronger. I am glad when I look back on it.

I was in my home with my father and mother when I was diagnosed after a painful experience with my ex-husband. I was extremely sick, and just wanted to be left alone, but I was too ill to leave my room. My father and mother took me to the local clinic, and there I learned the most important part of my story. My mother told me the doctors were not using the correct words anymore, and she was afraid I was making something up. She told me it means that I am still a virgin, and they would not tell me this.

I immediately began looking at birth control options. I read a large amount of books, and studied my options. I found a prescription from my older brother. At the time, all the pharmacies were selling it as an alternative to HIV medicines. I had the chance to try it, and I did; I went out in the streets and talked to the crowds about what the word meant. I began selling it in my neighbourhood, and the number of clients exploded. The response was just like any other business or venture you would see in my town: People wanted to be my clients. People said they wanted to get married to me, but when we went to an arranged marriage ceremony in my country they were scared I wouldn’t be able to perform. I thought to myself that maybe I was a virgin, but in my own way I was still a man.

I also began to study the science of HIV/AIDS in great detail. In 1976 when my mother was diagnosed, it was a time of intense research and testing that continued until the 1990’s. In the process of researching HIV/AIDS in the 90’s I finally found the cure for the disease: antiretroviral medications. The medication worked wonders for me, and cured my condition with less than two decades of drugs. My new life started, and it turned out I had been living with HIV since before this disease developed.

But, because I was already a virgin, it meant I was still a virgin when it first became known I was living with HIV/AIDS. My friends were surprised when they heard this news, as they thought I was just a girl with AIDS (or any other form of HIV). When I later started dating, my new partner would ask me if I had ever had sex. No. I explained my situation to him and he asked why. They don’t believe me that I wasn’t a virgin. They believe that because I had AIDS it wouldn’t stop me from sleeping with his best friend and girlfriend. They think that I have been asexual ever since I became a girl. Asexual.

I was always the shy one.