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This is What It's Like to be a Health Guru for People Living with HIV

Tim Stahl

HIV, once an obvious killer is now, quite frankly, a quiet subtler killer. You didn’t know? If you are tired of hearing about PrEP, viral suppression, take your meds, see your doctor….. and on and on; if you are an adult and have the basics under control then I am your guru, your health coach; the one who guides you through what is next. I know I am tired and there was a point after I find out I was positive in 2004 that I wanted to know more on how I could take control of my own health and thrive living with HIV. 

It is not my intention to make light of educating those about HIV and expressing the importance of taking our medication all while attempting to suppress our viral load. There is so much work being done in this area but very little that reaches a community looking for more.  

HIV is no joke, the meds are tough on the body and although they are saving our lives and allowing us to live as long as our HIV negative counterparts, they age us significantly and our organs are always on super overdrive and in continual inflammation. Being positive gives us a smaller window to make mistakes with our health. Having HIV, we are at risk for all sorts of complications including cancers, heart and kidney disease, skin disorders, anxiety and depression. Not to mention, having a significance increase in having dementia and Alzheimer’s. We are only beginning to touch the surface of what it means to age with HIV.

My intention is to be a coach for you as you navigate what comes next after the meds and the doctor appointments are all under control. I care about your health and can coach you on how to live your best life, being thankful…..even grateful, that you have HIV. What!? Yes, take this opportunity as a wakeup call and you must answer it, you should care. We did not come all this way to let those who were not so fortunate down. We need to live for us and give respect to those who allowed us to be here now.

Do I dare say the LGBT community can sometimes be cautious, even pessimistic? Let’s face it… we have been through hell and back just to get here. So, I don’t blame the naysayers for being skeptical of a health coach when it comes to HIV, but it is not them who I want to coach. You have to be coachable and you have to want to not only survive, but thrive with this disease. 

There is this notion out there that HIV is easy and so many stay silent. Silence is deadly and I acknowledge that it is not easy and we need to talk about that and support each other. Some of us have guilt for being alive. Some are in denial or think they are indestructible. Many of us think we should just suck it up and deal, after all, we are living, right? This is why I call it the quiet killer. Yeah, you have good days, but it can be a part time job keeping it all together. 

I get it and I want to help. Why, because in 2013, I wanted to die. I was sick of it all. Brain fog, sleeping issues, acne, stomach issues, endoscopies, colonoscopies, eye exams, throat exams, you name it, I went through it and I know you have too. Nothing helped, switching meds did not help. Specialists did not help.

Doctors are good at the basics, but they are not so good at talking about nutrition and how to take a holistic approach to your HIV regimen once your meds are under control. I do not blame them, our healthcare system only allows them so much time to spend with us and a lot of that is paperwork. 

My life changed when I took control of my own health and my doctor became part of my tribe. Yes, it takes a village. My t-cells tripled, while my meds remained the same, and everything melted away. I still have hard days, like everyone, but now I know I am doing everything I can to stay healthy now and into my sixties and seventies.

If you are coachable let’s set up an immunity consultation in person, by phone or on the computer and discuss how I can assist you towards better health; physically, mentally and emotionally.

I have one goal, to share my knowledge with you and to support you anyway I can. To be a friend and mentor in this crazy world, while living with a shitty dis-EASE. To be a part of your village.

 Love and Light,

Coach Tim