ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

HIVINE is written by HIV positive women but still with a sense of humour

Archive for November, 2009

World AIDS Day 2009

 December 1st World AIDS Day

I will be on ITV ‘This Morning’ speaking to Doctor Chris.

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Book Launch

My autobiography “The Spider and the Fly” is finally out and available to buy on lulu.com.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

I started it when I was first diagnosed in 2002, and over the years it has undergone many changes, but I believe the final format reads well.

My wonderful literary agent Robert Smith was very close to getting it published by Random House, but in the end they decided against it. It seems a story about an older woman with HIV may only appeal to a limited market.

Unfortunately, statistics prove that the target market is growing daily.

However, not one to give up, I have always been determined one way or another to get this book out on the market and in the public eye. This is not an ego thing on my part but because I truly believe it could save lives.

As it says on the cover, “This could never happen to you – or could it?”

Yes it could. HIV can and does affect anyone and everyone, as the recent statistics of the newly diagnosed prove. I am also hoping that reading my story will reduce HIV related stigma which unfortunately is still rife. I am fortunate in the fact that I can speak out, as so many positive people can not.

Regular readers of hivine will know that my goal, from the outset, has been to raise awareness both by writing this blog and speaking out on behalf of those who can’t. I never thought I would end up being an activist but I will continue with my quest until this bloody disease wipes me out, because I don’t want it to wipe out anyone else.

I am very lucky that I have a supportive family.
I am lucky that I have a wealth of inspirational positive friends who have given me the motivation and the courage to carry on.
I also consider myself extremely lucky to be living with HIV because so many people don’t. They either die through lack of access to medication or through sheer ignorance.

So please buy the book and recommend it to your family and friends. Let’s try to put an end to HIV/AIDS through the raising of awareness, the message of practising safe sex and getting regularly tested.

Finally I would like to thank all hiviners who by visiting this blog and website have kept me motivated over the last few years to keep writing and updating the site and hopefully will continue to do so.

Also, a huge thanks from my heart to my sister for all her help with the editing and complicated formatting and without whom this book would never have come to fruition.

Travelling Light

 “Got no bags and baggage to slow me down” just like old Cliff Richard’s song – but tell a lie, not strictly true actually. Did have one small airline bag that didn’t need to be checked in, orders of my sis, international business woman and traveller who I was meeting at Schipol airport. As trip was purely for work purposes i.e. final book blast on ‘The Spider and the Fly”, was only allowed to pack minimum clothes allowance (wear the rest ordered sis) and my lap top, which as now antique weighs a veritable ton. Therefore am swaddled in big black all weather smoking/sleeping bag coat over totally impractical calf length turquoise tartan skirt and thick coordinated mohair cardi. Have successfully managed to squeeze tiny suitcase lid down on lap top, camera, various cables and sandwich box containing meds. Great, won’t have to go to collect baggage, will be able to walk straight off plane like true international traveller and business woman like my sis.

First, have to strip everything off at custom control, coat, mohair cardi, belt, bum bag, boots, but luckily not tartan skirt. Fortunately am wearing matching socks, not mismatched holy heeled sports socks of son – where do those other socks go? Socks are embarrassing shade of pink and clash with tartan skirt, also not sure if remembered to shave legs. Slink guiltily (as ever) through scanner without pinging, but then, “Who does blue bag belong to?” surly butch prisoner cell block ‘H’ security guard demands. “Me,” I raise tentative finger in air whilst frantically retrieving mohair cardi, boots etc. off rolling conveyer belt. Security guard thrusts ham like arms with rolled up sleeves in tiny suitcase and triumphantly extracts sandwich box containing meds complete with ice cooling packs – wonder if she knows what they are for? Disdainfully routes around in toilet bag and starts fishing out items one by one then depositing them in tray. What is she doing?

“Can’t take these items,” she declares viciously, “Are not in plastic bag.”

“Do you have plastic bag can buy?” ask politely.

“Liverpool airport not supply plastic bags,” growls security guard, “Are signs informing passengers of airport restrictions all along corridor,” points aggressive finger at wall.  

“Look, can use this,” I wave plastic shower hat under nose, “tie knot in top.” “That not plastic bag that shiwer het,” security guard gives sarcastic snarl and with sweep of burly arm sweeps lot into bin. “You can’t do this to me, please, I beg you,” but she already has. My life’s necessities, my costly clarins age defying foundation, sexy mother pucker lip plumper, brand new mascara, preparation H (just incase). I am speechless – dumbfounded – cut to the quick, hurt to the core, bewitched bothered and bewildered. Feel as though vital organ has been severed. In one fell swoop prisoner cell block ‘H’ security bitch from hell has stripped me of my identity.

Stand there looking pitiful in tartan skirt and pink socks, hopefully not hairy legs, but too distressed now to care. “She’s binned my clarins,” I say tearfully to other security guard with friendlier face and anyone else who cares to listen. Nobody listens – nobody cares. Liverpool hard unfriendly uncaring place think.

Remain hovering, watching with keen but tearful eye to make sure security bitch from hell does same to everyone else and am not being victimised because of meds – HIV paranoia rapidly setting in. Eventually forced to put boots, mohair cardi etc. back on in case I miss flight but am now suffering from shock and victim of post traumatic stress syndrome.  Wander in dazed fashion to departure lounge. What am I without my age defying foundation and sexy mother pucker lip plumper? Daresay can manage without preparation H – but sure security guard from hell can put it to good use. Bet she’s got a stall on Liverpool market selling off confiscated clarins and brand new mascaras.

 “No comb and no toothbrush,” hum ruefully to self,  “I’ve got nothing to haul, I’m carrying only, a pocketful of Werther’s Originals, a few scrunched up tissues – and they weigh nothing at all,” unlike my stupid airline bag which keeps toppling over with weight of antique lap top. Luckily remembered had thirty pound gift voucher in bag from sixtieth birthday, so go to Boots to restock. Unlike Cliff am definitely not travelling light as am now wielding stupid topply over airline bag, heavy smoking in all weathers coat and stuffed Boots carrier bag.

Sweating profusely in unladylike manner join on to Easy Jet cattle queue lined up on stairs, lower heavy bag step by step, keep tripping over stupid tartan skirt which due to lack of hips (thanks to meds) is slowly descending floor wards, as are knickers. Take part in mad dash for seats and overhead locker space, then try to lift bag into locker. Impossible, cannot lift it no matter how I try. Easy Jet rule – have to be able to lift bag into locker without help – so no one offers, not even to newly diagnosed pensioner like self, the days of men acting like ‘gentlemen’ are definitely over, at least in Liverpool. Eventually young man with dreadlocks comes to my aid. Thank God for Rastafarians I say, where would ‘old’ ladies like me be without them? Wish I was sitting next to Rasta locks but am sitting next to a strange eccentric middle aged man in yellow corduroy jacket – fall asleep as becomes my age, also to avoid talking to yellow jacket. Dribbling probably – wake myself up with an unladylike snore. Have landed already. That was quick. Am dreading trying to lift bag down  so jump up and position self next to overhead locker three rows down, which means have lost sight of handbag with money, cards etc. Everyone rushes off plane. Am convinced yellow corduroy jacket has made off with handbag having completely forgotten handbag also had to be squashed in ridiculously small airline bag. Yet another Easy Jet rule. Luckily stopped myself from screaming stop thief – stop that man in yellow corduroy jacket.

Now seriously worried about short term memory loss and travelling capabilities, am obviously not fit to venture out alone. Perhaps am going senile or suffering from onset of HIV related dementia. Think am totally traumatised by daylight makeup and preparation H robbery and still in shock, added to which mohair cardi seems to have accumulated static on route and get electric shock every time I touch anything metal, like stair rail. Not doing anything for hairstyle – look like Jedwood of X Factor fame’s sister. The missing triplet.

Haul heavy suitcase up stairs trying to hold on to tartan skirt which is determined to trip me up and electrified rail which keeps giving me shocks. People giving me funny looks but no one offers to help. Motorised car waiting at top, “Ooh good, can I have ride?” ask hopefully. “Only if name is Macdonald,” says lady driver. Point to tartan skirt but doesn’t wash – “f*** off then,” swear at her and stalk wearily off. Hear car approaching behind me, “Give you lift as far as can,” offers lady driver. Accept offer and clamber aboard.

Limp next two kilometres to arrivals gate but no sis – feel abandoned – will now have to negotiate Dutch train system by self. Calming camel immediately in order so make directly to closest exit. Mobile rings – is sis – where hell r u – at door tell her – which door are many doors – don’t know – sis tuts – stay there will come to you – phone rings again – where hell r u – sis angry not good start – will walk to next door tell her – finally see sis through swing door, is standing on concourse with face on – push trolley through swing door – sis standing alone – crowd giving her wide berth – is clutching string with huge helium balloon of black and white cow beaming over shoulder with silly smiley face – cow not sis. We hug, sis gets shock from mohair cardi – I cry, we laugh, we walk to car park with cow flying over our heads getting tangled up on passing trolleys.

We finish book, we finally agree on cover – tis done and dust covered. We take helium cow out on dyke for symbolic launch and make celebratory video to put on you tube and send to agent – cows have been ongoing theme in our correspondence over last six years it has taken to get book “The Spider and the Fly” to completion.
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.
Book will shortly be for sale – watch this space and also watch silly cow video by clicking on the link, “Adrienne Seed Cow Kiting ” on the blog roll followed by “Adrienne Seed Cow Kiting, – what happened next!”-  if you want a laugh.

Always Remember

granddad for hivine last

For our tommorrow they gave their today – and still are.

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HIV TRAVEL BAN LIFTED

american flag 3

The United States Government today announced the lifting of HIV related entry, stay and residency restrictions. The ruling confirmed that HIV infection will be officially removed from the definition of communicable diseases of public health significance as of January 1st, 2010. The Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe (DAH), European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG) and the Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+) congratulate the United States Government on fulfilling its promise and completing the legal procedure that was started by former President Bush on World AIDS Day 2007.

“This is a great victory for the fight against the worldwide discrimination of people living with HIV”, says Peter Wiessner from the Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe: “I remember times where we never thought that this would happen. This is an emotional moment and it feels a bit like the fall of the Berlin wall.”

 

DAH, EATG and GNP+ have long argued that HIV specific restrictions on entry, stay and residence are not only stigmatizing and discriminatory, but are also ineffective for public health protection and prevention purposes.

 

“Lifting the ban is a great step forward in the battle against stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV,” stated Kevin Moody, International Coordinator and CEO of GNP

“This groundbreaking move is the result of joint advocacy efforts by countless activists in the United States and around the globe over many years,” reported David Haerry of the EATG. “It is a strong message to other countries maintaining stigmatizing restrictions today, such as Russia, China, Australia and Canada.”

 

DAH, EATG and GNP+ commend the United States Government for its commitment to lead diplomatic efforts to lift HIV specific entry, stay and residency restrictions in other countries. There are multiple countries that could be spurred to deliver on their commitments: For example, China never delivered on the promises made in 2007 to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria to lift immigration restrictions[i] and both Namibia and South Korea have not yet fulfilled their promise to review their restrictive legislations[ii].

 

 

“Let’s not forget that even after the United States decision, we count more than 60 countries having stigmatizing entry or residency restrictions, including some in Western and Eastern Europe,” Peter Wiessner said: “27 countries deport people on the grounds of having an HIV infection.”

 

DAH, EATG and GNP+ want to recognize the enormous efforts by activists and diplomats inside the United States as well as outside to change these legislations. Precious support was provided by Congress woman Barbara Lee (California) and Senator Kerry. Special mention should be made of the Government of Norway and UNAIDS , that jointly led the International Task Team on HIV-related Travel Restrictions.

For more information contact:

Deutsche AIDS Hilfe: Peter Wiessner, +49-221-80 14 96 36 (German, English)

 

European AIDS Treatment Group: David Hans U. Haerry, +41-31-352 3210, david@eatg.org (French, English, German, Spanish)

Global Network of People living with HIV: Martin Stolk, Communications Officer, +31-6-1991 2406, mstolk@gnpplus.net (Dutch, English)

 

The Deutsche AIDS Hilfe and EATG collaborate with the International AIDS Society IAS on the Global Database of HIV-specific Travel Restrictions http://www.hivtravel.org 

 

DAH, EATG and GNP+ have been regular partners advocating against HIV related discriminatory measures such as travel restrictions.