Justin's HIV Journal

Monday, February 7, 2011

Justin's HIV Journal: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day; Gene Antho...

Actor/Dancer Gene Anthony Ray (May 24th, 1962-Nov. 14th, 2003)

Ray was an American actor, choreography and dancer. He is best known for his portrayal of the street smart dancer Leroy in the 1980 motion picture Fame and the television spin-off which aired from 1982-1987.

Born in Harlem, New York on May 24, 1962, Ray grew up in the neighborhood of West 153rd Street. He attended the New York High School of the Performing Arts, the inspiration for the film Fame, but was kicked out after one year. "It was too disciplined for this wild child of mine," his mother has been quoted as saying.

Ray also studied dance at the Julia Richman High School, where he would audition for Fame choreographer Louis Falco. Much like his Fame character, Ray had little professional training, but a raw talent that won him his role for the film.

Despite being a hit as a film, the 1982 television spin off of Fame only lasted one year on NBC before being canceled. The show was later syndicated by MGM Television from 1983 to 1987. Ray also appeared in the films Out Of Sync (1995) which was directed by his Fame co-star Debbie Allen and the 1996 Whoopi Goldberg comedy Eddie.

Ray died from complications of a stroke on November 14, 2003 in Manhattan, New York. He was HIV positive at the time of his death.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Justin's HIV Journal: You Have HIV......Now What?

You have HIV…..Now What?

I started blogging about my personal experience being infected with HIV because I thought it might help others who have been infected or affected with HIV. I am in no way saying that everyone should be public the same way I have been but there are other ways you can help yourself through this terrifying time.

In this entry I want to touch on what people that have been newly infected might want to explore. I may be a little harsh in my video entry but I want to make sure that it is known that I’m not a doctor and this is just my opinion about what you might want to do.

First thing is first IT IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD. You can survive and live a good long life with HIV. Just think of HIV as the dinner guest that will NOT leave the party, as irritating as that guest may be, you MUST tolerate him/her.

Now you’ve been crying over and over again about having HIV and I’m sure there are a lot of things going on in your mind. For example, am I going to die? ANSWER No you are not. Can I still have children? ANSWER Yes You can still have children. What are my friends going to say? ANSWER If they are your TRUE friends they will stick by you. If they don’t I wouldn’t call them friends at all. Friends stick by you through thick and thin. What is my family going to say? ANSWER This is going to be different for everyone. I personally had an okay experience even though someone told my family before I did. There will be tears with family and friends but I’ve learned that you have to show them that you are not afraid because fear of the unknown can spread like wildfire. Show them that you are strong and I bet they will be strong with you.

Now, Step 1 Go see a doctor. This is one of your only defenses against HIV. Also by going to see your doctor he will see exactly what your counts are. By counts, I mean your Viral Load and CD4 count. The Viral Load is how much of the virus is in your blood. Your CD4 count will tell you how many helper cells you have to help your body fight HIV. These numbers are vital to let your doctor know when you might have to go on Medications. Some people do not have to go on medication at first, for years and a small amount of people are called, “Elite Controllers” and they don’t have to go on medication ever. Think of this as a start of a new life and also think that this is a moment that you need to think about cherishing ever moment and everyone in your life that is positive and affirming.

When on medication depending on how your body is dealing with the HIV you may need to change your diet. The HIV medication may make your body go through some changes. For example, when I got on medication it elevated the level of cholesterol in my body, but also because of genetic my cholesterol is high anyway. So now I watch what I eat. I usually stay away from things that can heighten my cholesterol levels. I admit I do have the occasional cheeseburger or steak but it my diet, and the same goes for you. Also exercise helps as well. You might want to take up Yoga, Pilates, or some other means of exercise.