For HIV Counselor, Prevention Begins with Self-Esteem

September 19, 2011  |  

(Chicago Tribune) — Ten years ago, when Evany Turk’s doctor entered an examination room to tell her that she’d tested positive for HIV, she was devastated.  “I sat there wondering, ‘Why me?'” said Turk, now 34. “I’d been in a committed relationship for three years. We had used a condom the entire time because I was a teen mom and I wanted to be careful. … We had decided to have a baby and I went to the doctor thinking I was feeling sick and fatigued because I was pregnant. But I had HIV.”  She said she thought her life was over. Her plan was to leave her doctor’s Hyde Park office and drive her car into the brick wall of a bank across the street. But when she got outside, she saw people standing at the bus stop by the building and couldn’t put them in harm’s way.  Though she decided against ending her life that day, over the next five years she would face a series of other walls: She’d quit her job and move out of state. She’d isolate herself from her friends and family members because she didn’t want them to know she had HIV. She’d try suicide two more times and eventually wind up homeless.

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