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Living with HIV: "Not a death sentence"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 02:04

Nov. 29 - Diagnosed with HIV in 1986, 49-year-old Theresa Nowlin says medical advances and a healthy lifestyle means she can live a long, happy existence. Sarah Irwin reports.

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Theresa Nowlin has been living with HIV since 1986. Attending an annual dinner with other HIV/AIDS patients and their families in Boston - she said - 30 years after the virus was identified -- she and millions of others can now maintain a productive and happy existence. SOUNDBITE: Theresa Nowlin, HIV/AIDS patient. "Being HIV, it is not a death sentence. We can live a wonderful, happy life -- thrive." Nowlin - a recovering drug addict - says she contracted HIV through either IV drug use or having unprotected sex. She was living on the streets - until she joined the Boston Living Center - an community center for HIV/AIDS patients. SOUNDBITE: Theresa Nowlin, HIV/AIDS patient. "Back then, when I first tested positive, I was lost, I was scared, I had no idea if I was going to live or die because back then, people were dying like everyday." The center offered Nowlin and other members nutritious meals - therapy sessions - and arts and crafts classes. It also provided education about new medicines - medicines the 49-year-old says kept her alive. SOUNDBITE: Theresa Nowlin, HIV/AIDS patient. "In thirty years, we have come a long way in the medical field, with the medications that help us stay healthy, longer, live longer. There are still a lot more strides they need to be making." Twenty-five years after her diagnosis, Nowlin participates in medical trials - and also works as a receptionist at the center. She also joins every year with other HIV/AIDS patients - to celebrate life - and remember friends who lost their fight. SOUNDBITE: Theresa Nowlin, HIV/AIDS patient. "As long as we eat right, as long as we take our medications, regular doctor visits and treat our bodies well, we are going to live a long life." Sarah Irwin, Reuters.

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Living with HIV: "Not a death sentence"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 02:04