'I didn't think I'd be around': Long-term survivors share stories of aging with HIV'
Gerry McConnery, 65, didn't expect to be retired and worried about outliving his financial savings because he never thought he'd live this long. When McConnery was diagnosed with HIV at age 39 in 1993 doctors told him he had three to five years to live. "It was very depressing, it was a very scary time," said McConnery, sitting on his couch in a basement suite in his daughter's bungalow in southwest Calgary. McConnery said he watched as friends slowly wasted away in hospital rooms and attended up to eight funerals a month. He said he drank to excess to cope with fears he'd be next. But he survived with the help of friends, family and Alcoholics Anonymous — and the right balance of medications to keep his immune system strong.