September 2014 - Susman
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What it is Like Living With HIV

When I tell people I’m HIV positive, people seem to think my life is completely out of whack and I must live in a super sterol hospital room, afraid to go outside and become sick. They also assume that I have to take a few hundred pills a day and must just sit around in a hospital gown as well. However, while I do take a few pills in the morning and before meals, my life really is not all that different from anyone else. In fact, I might go out on a limb to actually say my life is better.

When I wake up, I get out of bed, shower and get dressed just like everyone else. I drive to work just like everyone else and I have my own life insurance policy, just like anyone else might want to do. However, having HIV has allowed me to take stock in my life and look at what is important. I don’t spend full days just sitting on the couch any longer. Instead, I get outside, ride a bike, hang out with my friends or just do little things that most people take for granted, but I know is important, because life and the people you live it with are the most important people in the entire world.

Tire Safety: Everything Rides On It

flat-tire-76563_640Studies of tire safety show that maintaining proper tire pressure, observing tire and vehicle load limits (not carrying more weight in your vehicle than your tires or vehicle can safely handle), avoiding road hazards, and inspecting tires for cuts, slashes, and other irregularities are the most important things you can do to avoid tire failure such as tread separation or blowout and flat tires. These actions along with other care and maintenance activities can also:

– Improve vehicle handling;
– Help protect you and others from avoidable breakdowns and crashes;
– Improve fuel economy; and
– Increase the life of your tires.

This booklet presents a comprehensive overview of tire safety, including information on the following topics:

– Basic tire maintenance;
– Uniform Tire Quality Grading System;
– Fundamental characteristics of tires; and
– Tire safety tips.

arrow Booklet in English pdf arrow Booklet in Spanish pdf

Use this information to make tire safety a regular part of your vehicle maintenance routine. Recognize that the time you spend is minimal compared with the inconvenience and safety consequences of a flat tire or other tire failure.

For more information, call 888-327-4236


Source: NHTSA, “Tire Safety: Everything Rides On It” website. Accessed August 5, 2014.

© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. This content is strictly for informational purposes and although experts have prepared it, the reader should not substitute this information for professional insurance advice. If you have any questions, please consult your insurance professional before acting on any information presented. Read more.

Protect Yourself with Life Insurance

Although I have HIV and have tested positive for HIV over the better part of the last decade, I tell everyone, regardless of their current medical history, to go out and obtain life insurance. You never know what is going to happen to you or the kind of curve balls life can throw your way, so you need to seek out life insurance in order to protect the people you love. HIV truly brought my life into perspective, which opened my eyes and showed me what actually is important in life. It is not materialistic things, but the events and people life that truly make it worth wild. Sure, I’d love to be behind the wheel of an expensive sports car or live right on the beach, but I’d rather wake up every morning with my family in the same house and share special events with everyone who truly matters to me.

The life insurance is simply to not only protect my family from having to pay for my medical expenses and final costs, but to also give them some, simply for being my family and for being their for me. I’m not going to be around forever, but nobody is, and I want to leave that final departing gift for those who have been around me and cared for me.

Protecting My Family with Life Insurance

HIV is one of those things that as soon as you say it, people already have a stigma against you. It’s kind of like when you were five years old and you said the girl across the room had cooties. People just want to stay away from you, and while they don’t come right out and say it, you can simply see it in their eyes that they don’t want to catch it and almost believe that it can jump from my body to theirs. it has been a bit of a process, but now I am doing more with my life than I ever have before. I am also protecting my family by taking advantage of a life insurance policy.

This is something I would recommend anyone who has received word of an HIV diagnosis. While modern medicine has made it that much more possible to live a healthy life, you truly do not know what life might bring, which is true for anyone. And nobody really wants their family to be forced to front cash for their final expenses or fall into debt. I know my expenses are likely going to be expensive, which is why I want to protect everyone in my family with the life insurance. It just is the right thing to do for them.

Living with HIV

I don’t know much about finding life insurance when you have a pre-existing condition such as HIV, but I do know that it is not a death sentence or even that much of a damper on your life. Sure your life has changed, but not in the way you may think.

You get to see your life from a new perspective and maybe even cherish it a little more. The situation that put me at risk for infection involved some careless decision-making. I have a chance to rectify that by taking much better care of myself and understanding that I am worth more consideration than other people give me. Investigating life insurance is one of those considerations.

I used to worry about the stigma of being infected and the risk of infecting others. It actually isn’t about other people anymore. The stigma is an issue that other people have, not me. While I do not go around advertising my status, I am not ashamed of it and share it with people who I feel need to know. As for the risk for spreading the infection, now that I am undetectable because of medication, I cannot give it to others. The risk lies with my compromised immune system being exposed to other people. Love yourself and make better decisions for your bright future.

HIV Isn’t a Death Sentence

Growing up, I always thought that HIV really meant a death sentence. Essentially, unless the person’s name was Ervin "Magic" Johnson, everyone else seemed to die after only a few years. However, after my Earth shattering diagnosis, I discovered this really was not the case. In fact, I have now been living with HIV for the last four years now, and unless I came right out and told you that I have HIV, you would not suspect me being any different at all. That is because treatment for HIV has drastically changed in the past 15 years and it is no longer necessary to be a millionaire (such as Magic Johnson) to live a long and healthy life.

I now do more with my family than I ever have in previous times in my life. I have two daughters and a wife who I love dearly. I contracted HIV by sharing a needle with someone who had HIV, and while I thought that this might have been the end of my life, it really is now just the beginning. The time I have spent with my family is something I would not change for the world, and while I do have to do things differently than what someone who does not have HIV might do, I can protect my family with life insurance just the same.

Looking Out for the Ones You Love

While being diagnosed as HIV positive is no longer a death sentence, it is a clear reminder that you do need to get your affairs in order. Undoubtedly, there are people that you love and care about that you will want to have taken care of. If nothing else, you don’t want to leave the burden of final expenses along with the grief of losing you on your friends and family. It is important to note that estate planning, buying life insurance, and even creating a will are things that every responsible person should do whether they have a clean bill of health or not.

Finding out that you are HIV positive can be earth shattering, but having people who understand what you are going through helps a lot. You are going to go through so many emotions such as anger, fear, grief, confusion, and some go through a phase where they feel hopeless. You are not alone in your fight. You can do this! You are not condemned, you have a full and happy life in front of you.

Don- The Story of Hope and Strength

Don was a man who loved life. He spent his twenties traveling, meeting new and exciting people and living an amazing life. In the early 1980’s he found out that he had AIDS. This was something he never thought would happen to him. One of the concerns he had was that this is something that would define him. However, during his life, Don showed everyone he knew that he was much more than this disease.

A big concern he had was that he would never get the life insurance he needed, much less find love again. He had some trouble in the beginning, but as AIDS awareness grew and he accepted the condition things became easier for him. He had two long term partners after his diagnosis. His last was another man named Don, who he was with the last 6 years of his life. He would often talk of how complete and happy his life was. He spent time working with other people who had recently found out they had AIDS to give them hope and support.

Even though Don never had a child his sister became a widow when her son was just a few years old and he raised his nephew as though he were his son. He watched his nephew grow up and even have a child of his own. Despite the fact that Don passed away in 2010, he showed the world what a fighter he was as he lived for three decades after being diagnosed.

I love you

Yes, according to the word dictionary, and human intelligence, love is definitely spelled L-O-V-E. However, really smart people with families and responsibilities spell love a totally different way; I-N-S-U-R-A-N-C-E. That’s right, getting insurance on your children and your pets, and yes, even your spouse tells them that you care, even if you don’t.

Getting Sick is Not an Option

Have you looked at a medical bill lately? Well, you should. If you visit the ER with complaints of a headache, those aspirins might cost you $5 to $10 a pop. This depends on the strength, of course. Please don’t get really sick, and need long term care, that’s another $500 dollars a day. Let’s face it, if you don’t have health insurance, you can’t afford to get sick.

No Discounts in the Life There After

Whatever, you do, please don’t forget to take out life insurance. There is a saying that goes, “You are worth more dead than alive.” Well, that might be true. Department stores run specials all the time, you can get your clothing and household items on special, or probably half off. But who will seriously offer you half off on your burial? That is unheard of.

You don’t want your family to remember you dressed in your favorite suit, and being lowered into the ground with a cardboard box. If you can have friends with benefits, why do have life insurance with benefits too.

Be sure to get life insurance to protect those you love
Be sure to get life insurance to protect those you love

Take Insurance Seriously

Don’t take being healthy for granted. Although, it does pay off, if you are looking for health and life insurance. If you are a smoker, your insurance premium has just increased and so is your risk for heart disease and lung cancer. The price of your insurance coverage depends on your lifestyle. Even if you have not taken the best care of your body, you can still get coverage for any pre-existing illnesses, but it is definitely going to cost you. So, pull out those “Duckies” and show some real love.

Living with HIV: “Get out and learn something new”

When I was found to be HIV positive, I deemed my life over. I told my family after crying profusely, and began to get my affairs in order to bid my final farewell. It seemed as if I was rapidly approaching the end when a friend spoke with me. She too had been diagnosed with the HIV virus, and had a few words of advice to give.

First, she told me to live to the fullest. My friend emphasized that a diagnosis did not equal sudden death. Many who came before me were found to be HIV positive and made it through without fatal effects. Several others were actually living what some called “normal” lives, with a career, family, friends, and other great amenities. She, an HIV patient for twenty years herself, was one of the few others who were able to carry out such normalcy.

While she did not deny that the illness is life-changing, and as such didn’t disagree with my decision to speak with my life insurance agent, my friend encouraged me to place my focus on other things. She told me spend more time at the gym, ensuring that my nutriton was right, and less time in bed waiting for the “inevitable” to take place. “Get out and learn something new,” she told me. “After all, you only have one chance to seize the moment.”