My Mother, the HIV Patient
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
Five years ago, when Youth Radio's Quincy Mosby was 14, his mother told him she was HIV positive. He and his younger sister still live with their mother in Oakland, California. Sometimes it's been rough for the family but they've managed to stay together. Even as his mom copes with her illness and tries to embrace life, Quincy says that sometimes all he can see is her death.
QUINCY MOSBY reporting:
For as long as I can remember, every time my sister and I would fight, my mom would say, “You two have to stick together. I won't always be here.” My mom always says getting HIV was the best thing that ever happened to her. She started doing motivational speaking for people who were newly diagnosed and it pushed her to finish a lot of things she'd been holding off on, like recording an album, and paying a little bit more attention to me and my sister.
I don't want to be a drama queen, but for me, my mom's diagnosis was like a nightmare in the daytime. Doctors used to tell my mom, “It's not the end of the world. You probably won't even die from this disease. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow.” That's all well and good, sir, but I hoped for a little bit more in my life than my mother getting hit by a bus.
For the longest time, I use to be really angry. I was angry my mother waited so long to be tested because she would've been a lot better off if the doctors had caught the virus earlier. I was angry I couldn't be angry at her because she was sick. But most of all my anger was a little self centered. I was angry my mom didn't think enough of my sister and me to keep herself around.
Her status has gotten worse. She now has AIDS. Along with that diagnosis came a difficult decision for my mom, whether to start AIDS medication. She's watched AIDS drugs affect her friends, their voices and how they look. My mom is a singer. Her voice is her life.
She decided to take the drugs. The first couple of weeks were really hard. They made her so sick and even though she's better now, for me, her taking drugs feels like the beginning of the end. And I don't know who to go to as I watch my mom's body break down. It all seems to lead back to what my mom used to tell my sister and me as children, that all we have is each other.
NORRIS: Quincy Mosby's story was produced by Youth Radio.