The Positive Side

Summer 2011 

Darien Taylor (Winter 2008)

Age: 53
Toronto
Director of Program Delivery at CATIE
Living with HIV for 22 years
CD4 count: 450
Viral load: undetectable

“One of the very first women with HIV in Canada to get involved in treatment activism and to open up the HIV movement to include women living with HIV.”

How would you describe your health?
Good — I’ve never been sick with an HIV-related illness.

Are you experiencing any specific issues around HIV or your treatment?
No.

Have you gone through any major life changes since appearing on the cover of the Winter 2008 issue?
My girlie magazine cover for The Positive Side was, as a friend of mine put it, a “last hurrah” before age, gravity and menopause caught up with me.

How has age caught up with you? Do you think HIV is playing a role?
It’s very difficult to determine what is part of the normal aging process and what role HIV is playing. An informal poll of my HIV-positive and HIV-negative girlfriends does seem to indicate that those of us with HIV are experiencing an earlier and more symptomatic menopause.

Once you turn 50, all sorts of health monitoring tests are recommended: bone density, mammograms, colonoscopies and such. These tests bring you face to face with your aging body. For example, my bone density is not great. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great. Aging or HIV? Who knows? I don’t worry too much about the answer to that question, but I do supplement with calcium.

In one word, describe this moment in AIDS.
Momentary.

In 10 years…
I will be speaking grammatical Spanish and pursuing textile arts in Oaxaca, Mexico, where I have purchased a little house.

What song is the soundtrack of your life?
“Aquellos Ojos Verdes” (“Green Eyes”) by Buena Vista Social Club.