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Growing Older With H.I.V.
  Letters NY Times
Published: June 11, 2011
To the Editor:
In his June 5 Op-Ed article, "The Death Sentence That Defined My Life," Mark Trautwein shows us how not dying of AIDS "on schedule" has helped him learn "not to live life on one either." His story offers insight into the financial, social and medical challenges of living longer than expected.
How to age well is a new and growing concern in the field of H.I.V. care. By 2015 it is estimated that half the people living with H.I.V. will be 50 or older. Aging with H.I.V. involves maintaining a delicate, and sometimes paradoxical, balance between finding your own schedule and getting back on track with life.
Mr. Trautwein demonstrates that loving life can help one to live through a magnitude of loss and adapt to the unanticipated challenges that accompany survival with H.I.V. I hope his example promotes a dialogue that empowers others to find their own path toward optimal aging with H.I.V.
JAMES MASTEN New York, June 7, 2011
The writer is the author of "Aging With H.I.V.: A Gay Man's Guide."
To the Editor:
"The Death Sentence That Defined My Life" offers hopeful insights to anyone suffering from a chronic illness.
I am a psychiatrist and have treated patients with AIDS, diabetes, arthritis, depression and schizophrenia. All of these people are vulnerable to self-pity and recurrent thoughts about death. Healing for each of them starts when they become present in their lives and stop planning for their funerals.
Although his article is a reflection on living with AIDS, Mark Trautwein poignantly puts into perspective that an illness is a "fact," a "special circumstance." An important lesson in medicine, for professionals and patients, is that an illness might change the trajectory of a life, but it does not define it.
Cincinnati, June 5, 2011
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