The Pendleton chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) would like to call attention to November as National AIDS Awareness Month. Great progress is has been made in the treatment of AIDS and it does not carry the stigma it once did. However, AIDS is still an international problem.
When I was 14, I contracted AIDS, and in February 1999 I was diagnosed with full-blown AIDS. After I was given AZT for the virus three months later, it was found that AZT was killing me. I was given different medication and was told four months later that I had gone from full-blown AIDS to HIV positive. Six years later my medication was adjusted once more. A few months ago I was put on two new medications. At present my HIV-AIDS is non-detectable, which means I cannot transmit the disease to others. If I can get to this point in my life, I know others can do it as well. I want to give my support to others who need the support I did not have when I was younger.
PFLAG Pendleton provides support and information to those dealing with HIV-AIDS, including education on how HIV-AIDS is contracted, spread, and treated. You can contact the HIV virus through sexual contact, dirty needles, and syringes. The virus can be spread through the breast milk of infected mothers. You can contract the virus by getting tattoos if needles are reused. There is a test for HIV-AIDS provided through health providers.
Treatment helps to stop the virus. You can stay updated by going online and searching for HIV-AIDS tips and prevention. There are a variety of ways you can protect yourself.
If you would like more information on HIV-AIDS or if you want support, you can contact PFLAG Pendleton, P.O. Box 1819, Pendleton, OR 97801, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 541-966-8414.
The Eastern Oregon Center for Independent Living also provides information and support. Their phone number is 541-276-1037.