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Ms. Crimson Lips

Ms. Crimson Lips

Denise Becker lives in Mission, BC.  She has had HIV for 25 years and enjoys helping others with motivational speeches and blogging.  Her hobbies are photography, writing and spending time with Ziggy, her doberman.

Denise is an inspirational and motivational speaker, on twitter @DeniseSBecker and also blogs under her own website www.denise-becker.com

In 2012, Denise was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for her work and commitment to HIV/AIDS in Canada.

May28

20 years, 13 things

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 Written by // Denise Becker - Positive Life B.C. Categories // Women, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific , Ms. Crimson Lips

Denise Becker says “In June 1994, twenty years ago, I was diagnosed with HIV. Here are 13 things I have learned since then”.

20 years, 13 things

Number one

There is no cure and no vaccine.  Many people are unaware they have HIV.  Millions are still dying.  HIV is a Pandemic and the UN has a special department for HIV – UNAIDS.

Number two

There are many long term HIV survivors.  Pregnant mothers who know their HIV status and take medication rarely pass on HIV to their newborn babies.

Number three

HIV does not choose who it infects.  People who get HIV didn’t “ask for it” or “deserve it”.   Anyone can be at risk:  those who think they are in monogamous relationships; straight; gay; young; old; even babies. 

Number four

Fear of people with HIV/AIDS still exists and the stigma has not disappeared.  Many with HIV will not tell others or even their families that they have it.  Ignorant comments abound.

Number five

Some medication can have side effects or can even be deadly. But for the most part treatment is less toxic and fewer pills are needed. Now, there is medication that babies can take.

Number six

Many people admit to knowing nothing about HIV (I was guilty of this before I was told I had it).  There is a lack of HIV education in schools (perhaps even worse than in the early ‘90’s).  It is difficult to find a family doctor familiar with HIV – many doctors rely on HIV specialists to look after patients.  What used to be front page news is now almost invisible.  No red ribbons are worn at the Oscars.  It is hard to know whether the public has become oblivious or don’t care.

Number seven

Those who know they are infected have affordable access to medication, and comply with treatment regimens are leading the way in stopping the spread of the virus.  Specialist doctors and support workers have worked hard to reach the disenfranchised to make sure they stay on medication.  Some Provincial Governments realize the importance of needle exchanges.  However, Provincial Government Medicare covers catastrophic illness differently (support services and financing) - it is not easy to move from one province to another when you have HIV, even if you need the support of your family and home.

Number eight

Many countries still do not allow people with HIV to visit for a vacation.

Number nine

The Canadian government does not have any AIDS strategy.

Number ten

Research is finding that other illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia and some cancers are more prevalent in people with HIV.

Number eleven

Government finance is being cut for support services for those living with HIV.

Number twelve

There is no figure for the number of people who have committed suicide because of HIV.

Number thirteen

Almost everyone I meet who is HIV-positive will NOT ask how I got infected.  They know it can happen to anyone.

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