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Tag! You’re It!

Tag! You’re It!

It’s a hot summer day, you’re sweating and happily playing outside with your friends. You’re running full speed across a field, being chased by the cute kid from across the street. You try every trick in the book to escape, the classic “zig-zag pattern,” the “stop, duck, and reverse,” and even the patented “quick jump backward and suck your stomach in before they can reach out and get to you move” but to no avail. “Tag! You’re it! You’ve got the cooties!” they shout. You gasp and yell in denial, “No way! You missed me!” But the truth is you lost, they got you. You stand there heaving and out of breath with your hand on your hip as
reality sinks in that you’ve been defeated, got the cooties, and now must think of a way to get rid of them. You summon every bit of energy you have to begin to chase them. You run at top speed, but they’re too fast and you can’t catch them. You finally give up, winded and exhausted, as the game ends. You still have the “cooties” until you play again.

An HIV-positive diagnosis can feel a lot like playing that game of tag when you were younger. It’s because of childhood games like this, that when a person finds out they are HIV positive, they begin to feel the same defeat as in that game. Thoughts of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are typical. But don’t give up, there’s another step after that…action! Unlike in those days, there are much easier ways to deal with a positive diagnosis. It’s OK, the good thing is, if you do contract HIV (or any STI,) there’s treatment available. Many people with HIV who start and stay in medical care, live long, healthy, and happy lives
including the ability to still have a safe, and abundant sex life. A healthy lifestyle, disciplined routines, exercise, and a good diet along with proper medical care and mental health support, can make having HIV or other STIs as manageable as high blood pressure or diabetes. With the services that Hope & Help offers, consistent medical treatment can even go so far as to manage these infections to the point of being undetectable, and consequently un-transmittable.

You can continue to enjoy hot summer days, hanging out with friends, running at top speed across a field chasing the person you’ve had a crush on for months. They can try everything in the book, the classic “zig-zag pattern,” the “stop, duck, and reverse,” and even the patented “quick jump backward and suck their stomach in before you can reach out and get to them move.” You can laugh and play and at the end of the day, once you catch them, it’s ok to yell “Tag! You’re it!” and not feel anything but the joy of the moment because the game isn’t over. There’s still plenty of time to play!

Contributed by: Immani Love