The Positive Side

Summer 2011 

Laurette Levy (Spring 2003)

Age: 54
Montreal
Volunteer, writer (on disability)
Living with HIV since 1985
CD4 count: around 800
Viral load: undetectable

“A compassionate woman trying to bite into life as much as possible and enjoy every second of it.”

How would you describe your health?
Good.

Are you experiencing any specific issues around HIV or your treatment?
I’m not sure if it is because of HIV, treatment or lipoatrophy, but I have back and leg pains from osteoporosis and disc problems. To deal with this, I do physiotherapy, massage and osteopathy and take vitamins and minerals. I also take regular walks and try to avoid driving and staying seated for too long and computer work.

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?
Life continues. Women can study, work, have children — pregnancies with almost no risk of infecting their babies — in short, have almost normal lives.

What has changed for you personally?
I somehow allowed myself to change my life. I challenged myself by moving from Toronto to Montreal — leaving friends and my entire health team (doctors, naturopath, masseur, chiro, etc.). I started a new life with new friends. I got divorced, published a second book and got involved with ASOs in Quebec.

In one word, describe this moment in AIDS.
I am debating between hope and change.

In 10 years…
I hope to be able to still enjoy life at retirement age but I have many doubts about it. If I am honest, most of the time I am not sure that I will be around in 10 years. Recently I have seen, again, too many friends dying.

What song is the soundtrack of your life?
Anything sung by P. Jaroussky (a counter-tenor who sings Baroque music). And when I am outdoors, birds singing — even sparrows squawking in bushes on terribly cold days — gives me some kind of silly joy.