An Enlightened Journey: How I Lived with AIDS for Thirty Years
John is a person with AIDS who was diagnosed with Kaposi sarcoma, an AIDS-related cancer on August 24, 1984, and was given one year to live, he had just turned thirty-four. John was invited to speak at the Sixth International AIDS Conference held in San Francisco in 1990 because he was considered a long-term survivor having lived with AIDS for six years. Prior to the conference, he was convinced death was inevitable because HIV/AIDS had just been identified a few years before and there was no known treatment.
Stricken with fear and embarrassed by his physical appearance, caused by wasting, he isolated himself from his friends and society in general. It wasn’t long before he became so ill he was bed-ridden for one year. His roommates were terrified to even come near him, but occasionally one roommate would peek into his bedroom to see if he was still alive.
Then one day he received a gift from a friend, it was a book about herbs and their healing properties. At the advice of his friend, who stated, “You can’t do nothing, you have to do something,” John studied this book from cover-to-cover and began to fight. Immersing himself in the challenge to acquire every bit of knowledge concerning his condition, John discovered a wealth of information on nutrition, herbal remedies, and the doctrine of mind, body, and spirit. Using herbs that are antiviral, anti-cancer, and ones that strengthen the immune system his health began to improve. For the next twenty-two years John used only natural substances and the quality of his life improved greatly. His book is not only about his battle with AIDS, but also the obstacles that have been laid in front of him through this journey: From discrimination, to taking part in demonstrations through the streets of San Francisco in an attempt to bring AIDS awareness to our government. To crossing the Mexican border purchasing a medication that showed promise in the fight against this disease that might save lives, to the murder of his brother.
Reading books on how other people overcame serious illnesses such as cancer inspired him to fight and go on with his life. John wanted to write this book as a way of inspiring others who are faced with HIV/AIDS, or any life-threatening illness, to fight their disease by becoming proactive. Today, John is a living testament to the power of mind, body, and spirit and experiences a good quality of life. On August 24, 2014, John celebrated having lived with AIDS for thirty years. He is hopeful that his story will demonstrate that a diagnosis of HIV does not have to be a death sentence.