Saturday, 30 April 2016

Prince - His death, HIV and my thoughts

The media. many in the HIV community and many on social media are speculating about whether Prince had HIV and died of HIV complications ( i.e AIDS related HIV opportunistic infections.)

Many are asking why does this matter? It does not alter his achievements, who he was, what he meant to so many.

One blogger I know wrote this on the subject.

And I do very much agree with most of what this blogger said as of course it doesn't make any difference whether he had HIV or not in terms of who he was, what he achieved, his legacy etc.

But as someone who is also living with HIV, one aspect does concern me and feel it is legitimate to express it.

That if he, or anyone, did die if HIV related opportunistic infections, this was avoidable with modern medications. Which he certainly had access to.

Then, if he died of this cause the only explanation is he refused to take them and died because he was in denial.

Denial kills when you live with HIV .

Yes those living with HIV and on ARV medications, do die, everyone does,  and a few much earlier than they may have if they had not lived with HIV. As living with HIV, especially if like us you have had a low CD4 count at anytime. And  this and even the meds themselves can still cause or be partly responsible for early aging and cardiovascular, and other conditions such as bone loss and loss kidney function - both of which which I have - and other conditions that may cause premature death.

However those living with HIV and taking ARV medications, rarely, if ever if their meds are working for them, die of what used to be known as AIDS i.e HIV related syndrome of infections and conditions.

And if it is not pointed out that if this was the cause of his death, it was avoidable. I think/fear  that many who have no knowledge of HIV will assume that HIV is not the manageable condition it now is?

And I think this is stigmatising and sets ignorance about HIV back a few years.

As those that are not aware that if he just took the meds he'd still be alive, and heathy enough to still be performing and creating, they also won't realise that taking HIV meds renders most effectively un infectious.

Which is why of course mothers living with HIV now rarely pass it on to their children, why we can now have children and healthy children, and normal sexual and other relationships even with those that don't live with HIV .

Pointing out that if a very famous person only died of HIV complications ( once known as AIDs)  it can only be because he refused medication, is in my view a valid point to make, for many reasons.

And even though we do not know for sure he had HIV. As there is much speculation he did and it is daily mentioned in social media, I think it is legitimate and necessary to make clear that if he did, he would only have died due to HIV because he refused medication.