Kaneohe Woman Hopeful After 15 Years with HIV

Jaimie Kahale
Jaimie Kahale
Jaimie Kahale
Jaimie Kahale

(KHNL) - It's been 25 years since the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued its first warning about AIDS.

Since that day, 60 million people have been infected with HIV.

In Hawaii, thousands are now living with the virus, including Jaimie Kahale of Oahu.

She was only 26 years old when she was dealt two big blows: her husband was diagnosed with AIDS and she tested positive for HIV.

"It was an emotional roller coaster," said Kahale.

She says her husband contracted AIDS from either sharing a needle or having unprotected sex with someone else.

"I didn't have any anger at that time. I was really worried more than anything else," she said.

Her husband died in 1995.

Kahale has survived, living with the virus now for 15 years. She's one of millions in America who have HIV. She believes medical strides have been made, since AIDS was first reported in the U.S. in 1981. But she says there's still work to be done in other areas.

"I think we're still dealing with the stigma and shame attached to this disease," said Kahale.

This Kaneohe woman has been trying to change that. She goes to local schools, sharing her story with teens and educating them about the facts.

"I try to live each moment, each day for today," said Kahale.

She says her positive attitude and family members, including her sons, have helped her learn to live with HIV.

In the past, Kahale has taken medication to help her live with the virus. But for the past 4 years, she hasn't been taking anything because she's been feeling healthy.

She has no explanation for it, but believes her positive outlook on life has helped.