ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

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

Barking Birthday!

Was my birthday today – 62 what a shock! What did I do? Don’t
be fooled by the above picture. I watched ‘Complete Make-Over’ on the sofa of
course, inbetween being chased round the house by two demented dogs. Lady Doodle
is not taking kindly to visitor Pepsi dog – or her Buster collar.

Then I forgot to order rice with the Chinese take-away which reduced me to tears. How could I
forget the rice? I really am getting senile. All in all, not one of my best
birthdays – but lots of lovely messages on facebook and cards and presents from
my friends. Anyway, why am I moaning about turning 62 – when I was first
diagnosed my prognosis was eight to ten years so with a bit of luck I’ve got a
year left!

Hopefully – and some!

Feeling Gladiolus!

Here’s an update on my lovely flowers aren’t they
magnificent – and to let you know I’m feeling a lot better, and as Dave Clark
used to sing (whatever happened to him?) or was it Dame Edna, that I’m feeling
gladiolus all over – and I hope seeing them makes you feel gladiolus too.

Flash Bang Wallop

After a month of absence I seem to be suffering from some sort of writer’s block. The task of writing about some of the awful things that happened during that time are too heavy to contemplate, so I will leave it to you to click on the link at the end of this blog, which will lead you directly to a news article where all will be revealed. The headline reads, ‘HIV Woman targeted by YOBS.’

The photograph of me is absolutely horrible. My only consolation is that hopefully no one will recognize me. I should really have known better than to let them photograph me. I did email them a photo but they said I had to be looking miserable in view of the seriousness of the subject matter. Fair enough, I thought, although I tried to argue that it would be far more empowering to people living with HIV and in respect of HIV related stigma to present a reasonably ‘glam’ image to defeat the myth that everyone with HIV is a down and out or on their last legs. The latter might well be true, but it’s not exactly encouraging for the newly diagnosed, is it – not to mention one’s personal pride. I know an awful lot of people in Blackburn.

The photographer spent exactly two minutes in setting up the shot – coat off – it’s freezing – sit there on cold stone wall – it’s damp will catch chill – walk along edge of canal – it’s too windy what about my hair – bit closer – might fall in.

Did photographer care? No! snap snap snap – “Sue Johnson from the Royal Family is at Hoghton Tower so I’m off, bye.”

 In total the shoot took less than five minutes.  Definitely a case of –


‘Old it, flash, bang, wallop, what a picture

What a picture, what a photograph

Poor old soul, blimey, what a joke

Hair blown up like a cloud of smoke

Clap ‘ands, stamp yer feet

Bangin’ on the big bass drum

What a picture, what a picture


Stick it in your fam’ly album

There were two articles in the paper that ran on subsequent days. After the shock of seeing my photo i.e. wrinkled old woman with fly away grey hair and an umbrella mouth (was that really me?) I did text the reporter to ask him if they’d use a better one for the next day. He promised he would, but of course he lied. That’s what happens with the paparazzi – all they want is your story and they couldn’t care less about anything else. I now know how those footballers wives feel, not to mention members of the Royal family (aside from the sitcom) and talking of which, how could a story about a bloody actress be more important than highlighting issues to do with HIV?

What we need is a positive star or member of the nobility (a star or a wag or an X Factor winner would probably be better in this day and age) to act as a representative in order to make politicians and the general public sit up and take notice. Because I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – HIV can and does affect and infect anyone.

A huge thanks to the staff at Blackburn Royal Hospital GUM clinic for the beautiful flowers delivered by hand after reading the article in the paper. (featured above). And to the two have to remain anonymous members of Thrivine who also sent me flowers and the two dearest of friends who took me to Southport flower show to cheer me up.

And as for the article I’ll….

Stick it in my fam’ly

Stick it in my fam’ly

Stick it in my fam’ly


Lost and Found

Think I’ve seriously lost the plot, I keep forgetting vital appointments and losing things. What’s wrong with me – is it old age creeping in or is the dreaded lurgy HIV taking its dastardly hold on my brain? I keep doing the daftest things. At times I’m even getting my words mixed up. For example, in a restaurant the other night the words sticky toffee pudding got tangled up on my tongue and I asked the young Italian waiter for a stiffy. Is this normal behaviour for a sixty one year old woman who is HIV positive? I don’t think so. The young Italian waiter didn’t show the slightest sign of being amused, or even any interest, so no chance of a stiffy there. Maybe I should eat less stiffy toffee pudding and start eating the kinds of food which improve brain function. My HIV specialist did say (rather worryingly) that my dizzy head might be being caused by oxygen not reaching my brain. As ever, good ol’ Google provided the necessary answers.                                                             “Have you ever bumped into someone you know well but can’t recall their name? Frequently forget where you put your keys? We all experience those absentminded moments, but another culprit could be the lack of key nutrients tied to memory.”                                                                                                                                       There, you see I was on the right track, although as yet there was no link to HIV.                                            “These  foods can help you fill the gaps and may improve your memory, if you can remember to eat them! You might notice that the foods on this list are red or purple in colour. That’s because the phytochemical that colours them, anthocyanin, is the same phytochemical that’s good for your brain. Red, purple, and black grapes all contain quercetin, so does Red wine, but overindulging in the vlatter may negate the benefits, so keeping consumption to one glass per day may be wise.”                                                                                                  Hello Google! I don’t think so!                                                                                                                                                                                                    “Red onions and Red apples also contain high levels of quercetin, an antioxidant that has been shown in recent studies to protect against Alzheimer’s disease.”

Mmmm not sure about that – don’t want to get any querer than I already am.

“Blueberries have been proved in numerous studies to do wonderful things for the memory and for the brain in general. Old rats that were fed blueberries scored the same as young rats on memory tests.”

So that’s why Luis and I have been feeling compelled of late to ferret for bilberries, the Lancashire equivalent of the blueberry, which grow in profusion at this time of year in our local beauty spot Tockholes. But even after eating a huge portion of homemade bilberry pie I still managed to lose my mobile phone, then whilst searching for it I left the keys invitingly in the car ignition all night. Surprisingly, considering the area in which I live, no one nicked it. Mind you, I suppose its hardly worth nicking. It’s on its last legs if you can say that about a car and is making impatient erratic jumping movements like a horse about to bolt, especially whilst waiting for the traffic lights to change. My neighbour shook his head when he heard me starting it up and told me that it wasn’t firing on all cylinders. A bit like me then.

Well, I might be HIV positive, losing my mind and possibly my means of transport, but at least I haven’t lost my sense of humour – or my dog, I couldn’t cope with that. Lady Doodle and her daily offering of unconditional love is the one thing that keeps me sane. Come to think of it I’ve lost many things because of HIV. 

List of things I’ve lost –                                                                                                                                                            My bottom                                                                                                                                                                                       The ability to do a twirl whilst doing the salsa

List of things I’ve found –

Many new positive friends

A strength I never thought I had

The ability to accept others for what they are and not what they have.

All things considering, the things I’ve found are more important than the things I’ve lost, so if you are newly diagnosed take heart.

Back to Google – “Research shows that having meaningful relationships and a strong support system are vital not only to emotional health, but brain health. In one recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health, researchers found that people with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline. If a human isn’t handy, don’t overlook the value of a pet, especially the highly-social dog.”

Ah, Lady Doodle, where would I be without her, she makes me laugh every day and the best medicine of all is laughter of course.

“Laughter is good for your brain. Unlike emotional responses, which are limited to specific areas of the brain, laughter involves multiple regions across the whole brain. Looking for ways to bring more laughter in your life? Start with these basics:

Laugh at yourself.

Share your embarrassing moments.

(you sure that’s wise Google?)

When you hear laughter, move toward it.

When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s so funny?”

(be careful where you do this, they may be laughing at you – in which case move away quick sharp!)

Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily–both at themselves and at life’s absurdities and who routinely find the humour in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are highly contagious.

(and so is HIV so always practice safe humour by wearing a condom)

Frame photos of you and your family or friends having fun


(or alternatively make a video of them and put it up on you tube as I have done with Lady Doodle and Luis eating a sausage.)

Someone sent me this topical joke –

Did you know that senior citizens are the leading carriers of AIDS









Not sure whether I am finding that funny – it’s a bit too close to the bone. I’ll stick to watching funny you tube clips of dogs dancing or eating in restaurants – or uploading clips like this one of Lady Doodle/Luis eating a sausage. To see them visit my other hivine site at

Move over Cesar!

Woof Woof – Lady Doodle here your resident doggy blogger. Pack Mistress hasn’t bothered to write anything recently so thought I’d better keep you updated.

Things are a bit calmer here on the home front although work on the attic has to be postponed due what PM describes as a ‘severe financial setback’ so no more therapeutically uplifting trips in the car to B&Q. Instead they took me to recycling where I nearly managed to escape through the hatchback whilst PM and Luis stumbled around in the rain trying to work out where to put things. Honestly, it’s hardly rocket science is it, all the skips are clearly marked.

“Did you put all that stuff over there?” the grouchy recycling man demands of Luis. “Should be in electricals.”

“Where do dogs go?” PM asked him jokingly (at least I hope she was joking) which I didn’t think was very funny and neither did he by the bad tempered look on his face.

“Nice mutt,” he said patting my head although his hands were a bit whiffy have to say.

Went to pets4homes afterwards to stock up on dog food for me and treats of course, where I caused my usual havoc jumping up at everyone and trying to shoplift all the squeaky toys.

“What incredible white teeth,” one man pointed at me peering at my gnashers in envy, “Never seen such white teeth on a dog. He’s like Simon Cowell.”

Huh! Can’t he see I’m a Lady.

“I know, they are aren’t they,” PM says proudly but with a touch of envy in her voice wishing her teeth were as white as mine. Tio Luis just wishes he had some teeth, white or otherwise.

What PM doesn’t know is that all those whitening toothpastes she buys are a complete waste of time and she would be far better employed using natural remedies, such as rubbing the bark of walnut tree on them like I do i.e. chewing sticks. Every dog knows from birth (we don’t have to be told) that hard wood ash containing caustic potash (potassium hydroxide) if rubbed on the teeth is known to whiten them.

The only ash she rubs on her teeth is fag ash. She keeps saying she is cutting down on the filthy habit, but I haven’t noticed. We even put her in the stocks but as you can see even that didn’t stop her from trying.

They’ve been trying to train me again after watching that Cesar Milan fellow the dog whisperer. He’s Spanish too like Tio but from Mexico, although he’s obviously been chewing on sticks all his life or at least had regular visits to the dentist (unlike Tio Luis) because his gnashers are even whiter than mine. Tio doesn’t know how to whisper and neither does she for that matter as you can see on the training video she’s put up on youtube called “Move over Cesar,” where she tries to speak in a high posh voice, which is hardly a whisper and then lifts her bosoms up at the end like Les Dawson. Why you may ask – and the answer is I have no idea.

She’s pots for rags as they say up north, although I have no idea what that means either. Talking of rags its high time I did some chewing, so one woof for now – Lady Doodle.

Back to the Future!

My Daily Mirror horoscope – With Saturn still poking fun at Uranus you could be sitting a little uncomfortably when it comes to a relationship matter so shift your position. Ha!

Never a Cross Word

I’m giving the dam things up, I mean it. After all, in the grand scheme of things does it really matter what is the answer to two down or six across? Crosswords for me are merely an escape from reality or to be precise the crosswords flying backwards and forwards, up and down and all around (doing the hokey cokey!) in this house – most of them directed at me. Once those angry words have been said they stay lurking in the atmosphere like pesky flies or bats in the belfry and it doesn’t matter what I say or how many words I use, I can’t seem to make things right.

Fed up of employing my rusty counselling skills trying to work things out, I got in the car and tried to make my escape, but they followed me like a swarm of bees. I drove directly to B&Q to indulge in some therapy of my own making, as in regional car park therapy RCT as I have named it, the new alternative to person-centred therapy PCT or cognitive behavioural therapy CBT. It’s been a while since I’ve indulged in the latter but as they say actions speak louder than words and action had to be taken before something extreme occurred.

I opted for B&Q because it’s the nearest and sometimes there is a magnificent sunset over the Blackpool coast, but I was a bit too early for that. I did the usual – grabbed a huge trolley and wheeled it up and down the aisles tunelessly whistling to the piped musak – mmmm – what could I buy? In the end I bought some colour testers to try out on my walls because certain colours can influence moods. Words are such powerful things, I was thinking to myself as I wheeled my wheelbarrow through the aisles broad and narrow, like Molly Malone, only I wasn’t thinking about cockles or mussels. I was thinking about how you can make feel someone feel like shit with very few words or alternatively make someone feel really good about themselves.

Words can also be terrifying things, for example being told you are HIV positive are probably the worst words anyone will ever hear. After that words become meaningless such as (telling a newly diagnosed person as I am doing at the moment) that things will get better. They don’t believe me of course their life is shattered and they are numb with shock and fear and although it was nine years ago, I can still remember that indescribable feeling. Then there follows the great silence. Most people have to keep quiet about their positive status – keep stum, or schtum, or is it mum? In this case it should be numb. Uncomfortably numb – Pink Floyd should change the title of their famous song for people living with HIV.

On the way back from B&Q I stopped at the co-op and like the addict I have become, broke my pledge, snuck to the news stand and bought a Daily Mirror – my feeble excuse for falling off the wagon being to find out the answers from yesterday. That way I figured at least I had the answers to something.

Oh wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world with never a cross word! Someone please tell the Daily Mirror and my warring housemates.