The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Sufferers discuss experiences living with AIDS, HIV

By Leah Bosworth/reporter

Three people living with HIV/AIDS spoke to a NE Campus audience Nov. 4 about what life is like infected with the virus.

“Dying from AIDS is almost a thing of the past,” said Ted Lavato, vice president and chief operations officer of Samaritan House.

The non-profit organization provides housing and support for homeless people living with HIV and AIDS.

Lavato explained in his presentation that more than 60,000 people are HIV-positive in Texas and about 33,200 are living with AIDS.

He said AIDS drug-assistance programs as well as programs like the Samaritan House help people make positive and healthy decisions after finding out they are HIV-positive.

One of the guest speakers, who did not give his name, found out he was HIV-positive this May. At a young age, he revealed to his family that he was gay.

“Why don’t you stay away for a while and figure this out,” he said his parents told him.

After leaving home, he said he slipped into a cycle of depression and drugs. 

He said he eventually found his way to Samaritan House five months ago and now has control over his HIV. He also attends TR and South campuses.

Another guest speaker said she was diagnosed with HIV in 1994 and now has AIDS.

She said she has found security and guidance at the Samaritan House.

She no longer faces rejection from friends and family.

“I’ve got somewhere to go when the lights go out,” she said.

She aspires to be an HIV motivational speaker and is now a great-grandmother.

“AIDS lives with me,” she said. “I don’t live with AIDS.”

Currently living at Samaritan House, the three speakers agreed it was liberating to feel in control of their own life.

“I have a key to my own door,” one resident said. “That’s something I never had before.”

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian