I am 28. White. A Female. And a former Peace Corps Volunteer. I am HIV Positive. This is my story of how a few months, a few people, and a few events in Zambia changed me and my life forever. This is the story of how I contracted HIV and brought my Peace Corps Journey to a crashing halt... and how I am working now to pick up and put back together the pieces of my life as a newly diagnosed person living with HIV. This was not the journey I had originally planned... my path has traumatically and dramatically changed... but it is the one I am on now. There is no going back. There is only forward. I welcome you to follow along with me as I attempt to explore this new life ahead of me, whether you are someone from the Peace Corps community, or someone living with HIV. I welcome your comments, questions, suggestions, and opinions. Let us go forward together. To start from the beginning, click here He Gave Me More Than A Bracelet.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

An Update on HIV in the Peace Corps

I recently received an e-mail from a RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer). She shared an amazing story with me, and some important information that I need to share with all PCV's, RPCV's, and future PCV's. This amazing woman was born with HIV and has lived her whole life with the disease. After hearing Elizabeth Tunkle's story, she had the courage to apply for the Peace Corps and see if they would accept her. Guess what! They did! 

The Peace Corps doctors in DC talked with her and worked with her to find an appropriate country and placement. The Peace Corps Medical Officers in her host country were also always supportive of her and proud to say that she was one of their healthiest volunteers. 

I am happy to share that this HIV+ woman has now successfully served and completed her two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer! 

I applaud this brave woman and all future volunteers that have the courage to go for their dreams, without allowing any disease or medical condition to hold them back! I also applaud the Peace Corps for being open and willing to broaden their acceptance of applicants with HIV.

Here is a quote that this brave HIV+ woman asked me to share with all of you:
 
"I could never have served 2 years in the Peace Corps without Jesus Christ.  He has opened more doors for me than I could of have ever opened myself. Our community was one of the furthest away from the capital. Our community also had unclean water. My husband, who is HIV-, got really sick twice from bad water. I didn’t.  I give glory to God that there are ARVs to keep us HIV+ people alive to do good for others. HIV is not a curse in my life; it is a opportunity for the Lord to show his mercy and great love. He has a good plan for all of us HIV+ people!"

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jessica. Just to share and to prove to your doubters that oral sex was not the reason you got hiv. Well, my only risk was deep kissing and tounge exchanges. Of course no one would believe because it is low risk. I guess it depends. The point is if we are unaware of the person's long sexual history then we are at risk. Hiv transmission I believe depends highly on the viral load of the other person. And that even a minute opening caused by toothbrushing (we all feel mouth clean and hygienic after brushing) for example is a chance for virus entry.

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