Lexi Gibson, who lives in Las Vegas, was diagnosed with HIV for the first time at the age of two after contracting it through her mother at birth.
In an interview with Mirror, Lexi spoke about the moments when her father sat down with her to plan her funeral when she turned 14.
Lexi, who is now 25, says she lost her mother Tracey Atkinson when she was five years old. She was bullied in the school after her classmates found that she is an HIV patient.
As her father abandoned her, she was shifted to care homes one after another. Lexi was finally adopted by Shannon Wentworth, 45. Lexi now has a boyfriend Shayne Stage with whom she has unprotected sex, as pioneering medication has left her HIV 'undetectable.'
Now, the stigma surrounding the HIV has escaped her mind. At present, she is helping people with HIV to overcome the stigma.
Many may ask what is HIV undetectable? A report from Huffington Post describes it like this: "An undetectable viral load reduces the likelihood of transmission by 96 percent. Once a person achieves an undetectable status, after undergoing antiretroviral therapy (ATR), it is possible to remain at this level provided that the person is compliant with their ART medication.
Now, have a look at Lexi's story.
In an interview given to Mirror, Lexi said: "When I was two, both my mum and I were diagnosed with HIV. My mum was unaware, as blood tests were not so common then, and so she passed it onto me. My brother and father were negative, but due to their not being enough medication back then my mum died when I was five. Her immune system was already broken down by the virus by the time they got to her. After she had died, it tore my family apart."
Lexi said, "After 12 years of misery I got to a point where I refused to take my medication anymore; I was tired of all the crazy side effects. I think I threw up over 1,000 times throughout my childhood. Doctors told me that I wouldn't live past 13. A year after that, when I was still alive, my dad and my step mum sat me down and planned my funeral." Mirror report quoted her saying this.
"I was crying my eyes out, when my dad said to me 'you are going to die, Lexi. Later, I found myself in the care system with HIV, which made me feel vulnerable and close to bullies." Lexi said.
After going through trauma, Lexi was adopted by a woman called Shannon. Lexi says Shannon is her mother and mentor.
"Shannon didn't send me to school for two weeks as she helped me get through the agonising medication and treatment. I went through nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, head spins and sometimes even hallucinations throughout my life with HIV. But after Shannon adopted me, a few weeks later the medication worked, and I was undetectable," Lexi told Mirror.
According to Lexi, her earlier medication was not advanced. But Shannon helped her and now she takes just one pill a day.
Her boyfriend, Shayne, 25, said, "Lexi's real status never bothered me. When she educated me about HIV, particularly being undetectable, it removed stigma (I had in mind) towards HIV."
"I've fallen in love with her regardless of her status, we have the most amazing relationship in the world."
Lexi and Shayne say, "If people were educated about HIV and knew about the ability to become undetectable and the different preventions, the stigma and death rate would decrease," reports Mirror.
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