World AIDS Day: Los Angeles man shares his story

EMBED </>More Videos

Monday is World AIDS Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of HIV and AIDS. Tyrone Taylor hopes sharing his story will help people understand HIV is treatable and nothing to be ashamed of.

Los Angeles County's Rand Schrader Health & Research Center serves 2,300 people who are living with HIV across the county.

On Monday, they held a health fair as part of their observance of World AIDS Day, where various agencies offered up education and free HIV tests.

Tyrone Taylor's story of recovery and redemption is a triumph of the human spirit and modern medicine. Feb. 14, 2005 was the day Taylor's estranged daughter found him on L.A.'s Skid Row.

"I was laying on the street more dead than alive, and when she come up on me, I didn't recognize her," Taylor said. "I had to ask who was she, and she said, 'I'm your daughter daddy,' and those words pierced my spirit."

Taylor says he was addicted to alcohol, drugs and fighting HIV. A few weeks after that encounter, Taylor went to his first AA meeting and his body started responding to his HIV medications.

"Medications have far fewer side effects to none and they do a complete job of suppressing the virus and keeping people healthy," said Dr. Joseph Cadden of the LAC + USC Rand Schrader Health and Research Center.

Cadden says Taylor's story of recovery is not unusual. Thanks to advances in treatment, having HIV no longer impacts a person's lifespan.

"We have a center here that takes care of the entire family from the child to the adult," Cadden said.

New medications allow people with HIV to l9ive normal, healthy lives, but access to care can be a barrier. In California and Los Angeles County, there are many programs to help people living with HIV.

"Persons with absolutely no medical insurance whatsoever, they can access our services and get care completely free of charge," Cadden said.

Every year, about 2,500 people in L.A. County are newly diagnosed, a number that's held steady for about a decade. Health officials would like to see the numbers drop to zero, but the stigma surrounding HIV still prevents people from getting tested.

Taylor hopes sharing his story will help people understand HIV is treatable and nothing to be ashamed of.

"I'm grateful for my life, I'm grateful for the medicine and I'm grateful for recovery," Taylor said.

Taylor has five grandchildren he is just getting to know, and for the first time, he's living in his own apartment.

Cadden says early detection is more important than ever as medications can help suppress the virus and prevent the spread.

For more information on the Rand Schrader Health & Research Center, visit http://www.uscactu.com.


Related Topics:
healthHIVAIDSLos Angeles County
(Copyright ©2017 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments