Adam defines himself as stubborn, persistent, and loving.
The pills continue on and on, it’s permanent. It’s there… With the exception of 9:00 p.m., HIV does not affect my life. At 9:00 p.m., it’s pill time.
And then it comes ringing. But it’s becoming less and less of an issue. If I close at work, then I end up taking my medication once I get home, but, right away it’s like, “Pop that one.” One of my biggest concerns had always been adhering to that daily regimen. Am I going to be able to do this? And to date I have not missed a dosage. But that’s my HIV pill. Now you get to my high blood pressure medication, and you get to my vitamin that I’m on, and it’s like, “Oh, when did I take that?” I’m more appreciative that I have the one a day now versus ten years ago when I could’ve been on – when you were looking at medications where you had to split them up throughout the day, or you had to take the same pill multiple times a day.
There’s still wonder in the world… We’ve never gotten out of the shock-and-awe mentality of it. I remember my first introduction to HIV was 1992. We used to get a little book when I was in grade school called the Weekly Reader. And I remember the headline on it being something to the effect of “How Will the Bush Administration Handle the HIV Epidemic?” And that’s the problem that I think we have as far as education goes and HIV. We’re still looking at it as an epidemic. And it’s not an epidemic. We’ve got to move past how do we save these people’s lives to how do we get them to live long and prosper? How do we get them to increase the quality of their life as well as the quantity? And, like I said, we just never got out of that “save-the-ship” mentality.
I am by no means innocent, and I lost my innocence long before I ever got my diagnosis, but there’s no going back. The wonderment of it all is gone. I remember being so annoyed. I’d get so frustrated and always wonder, “When in the hell am I finally going to feel like an adult? When am I finally going to feel grown up?” I don’t feel like a kid anymore. It sucks that it took HIV to make me feel that way. But there’s still beauty. There’s still wonder in the world. You just have to find it. You just have to look past yourself.
Life will continue on, and we will be fine… We’re all trees. We can bend. Life continues on. That’s my overall message. The hardest thing people have to do when people have a loss like this, the hardest thing that they have to come to accept is that their life has to continue on, whether it’s someone has died, you’re HIV positive, or your pet just died. There are stages of grief. We have to go through them. But at the end of it, we’re still here. I’m not even the tree. I’m the leaf in the tree. I’m not alone. Although I feel like I’m alone, I’m not alone. You’ll be fine. We’ll all be fine. I mean, we’re going to die one day. Between now and then, life will continue on, and we will be fine.
How do I afford this? I was dragging to get the test. I didn’t want to. Was it the stigma from society as a whole, or the gay community as a whole, what they would think of me? It was more of the internal stigmas and more of my internal fears. How do I afford this? I think all of us still get sticker shock when we go to the pharmacy to pick up the pills. It says, you saved $3,000. You’re like – “what?” And then there was the whole anger issue, because having to deal with that pisses me off. $3,000 a month per person???