The Positive Side

Summer 2011 

Cindy Reardon (Spring 2003)

Age: 42
Living with HIV for 16 years
CD4 count: “in the 800s”
Viral load: “in the tens of thousands”

“I am a beautiful woman, from the tip of my toes to the bottom of my nose and every place in between.”

How would you describe your health?
Excellent. I am not experiencing any issues related to HIV. I have never taken antiretroviral therapy. In fact, I haven’t had any issues of concern with my HIV.

Since you were on the cover of our women’s issue back in 2003, what would you say has changed for women living with HIV in Canada?
The research community is recognizing women as distinct from men. Women are being taken seriously concerning HIV-related issues and not seen only as people who can get pregnant. With new therapies that lower the chances of mother-to-infant transmission, researchers have become more willing to include women in research.

Since you appeared on the cover, what has changed for you personally?
I recently had a spinal cord injury that has left me without the ability to walk. I need to learn all over again how to go to the washroom by myself, how to walk and how to coordinate my hands properly. The injury left my spinal cord stunned and angry. The nerves must find new pathways in order for me to achieve my goals. If they don’t, I will be in a wheelchair for the remainder of my days.

In one word, describe this moment in AIDS.
Exciting. There are so many developments and discoveries, especially about women and HIV.

In 10 years…
I see myself happy and content, as I am now. I am a long-term slow progressor, so I see my HIV counts staying relatively the same.

What song is the soundtrack of your life?
“Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd.