Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Pregnancy is my harm reduction

In the past I was heavily, heavily using drugs and alcohol. I was using crack cocaine and drinking a lot of beer every day. I also was a sex worker with many STDs here and there. Now I presently stopped all harm to myself. I am now pregnant with my fourth baby and my baby is my harm reduction. When I found out that I was pregnant I stopped smoking crack and drinking. It was so hard. I went through withdrawl-I detoxed myself. And, I started taking my HIV meds. Before, I was non-compliant, because of the side effects. Finding out I am pregnant was enough to make me stop cold turkey. During my past two pregnancies I continued using and I felt guilty everytime, but not guilty enough to stop. Being off of drugs makes me feel more healthy and like I am living a more productive life. Plus, now that I am taking my meds, my viral load is undetectable and my t-cells are above 500.
To me, harm reduction is causing less harm to yourself--my pregnancy was the motivator for me to get clean. Hopefully I will be able to stay clean once I give birth.
Now I am also graduating from a peer program and will begin an internship. I hope to be a good role model to others in the community.
For me, being clean works, but I know this can be so hard.

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