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DEAN AND VIRGINIA PAGE

We first interviewed Dean Page for our Positive Profile in the October/November 2003 issue of HIV Positive! magazine - almost a full 14-years ago.

To backtrack a bit, that interview and profile started out something like this:

{Like so many others with HIV - Dean has a history of years and years of full-bore drug abuse. "I used to the fullest." Dean says. "My goal was to take as much as I could take, and get as high as I could."}

The ultimate result of that dangerous lifestyle was an HIV-positive diagnosis along with a Hepatitis C co-infection. And, at the time of his diagnosis, roughly 34-years ago, therapy wasn't near where it is today and there were very few survivors.

Dean said, "They told me, 'Get your life together, because in six-months you're going to die.'"

Dean met Virginia when she was a Medical Assistant in an HIV clinic. Dean's life began to turn around with the help of Virginia...and so did hers. But it wasn't love at first sight and it wasn't easy.

Dean says, "When I met Virginia, I didn't like her or the facility and I told her so. The facility wasn't as nice as the one I used to go to."

Virginia said, "I told him, 'maybe you should go back.'"

Dean had a change of heart and began to pursue Virginia. There were so many reasons why the match should have never happened. Dean was an addict, Virginia never even smoked or drank. Dean was HIV-positive, Virginia wasn't. Virginia was older than Dean. Virginia says, "I didn't want anything to do with him for about 2-years. I kept pushing him away and he kept pursuing."

One day Dean showed up at the clinic after missing several appointments. He told Virginia he had been on a "Run" with drugs and asked for her help. Virginia said, "I asked the case manager what I should do and he said, 'Call the cops'. As I was walking toward Dean, I heard a voice saying, 'This man is going to be your husband.'"
Their lives changed after that day with each others help and companionship. Dean began treatment and began going to Narcotics Anonymous. Virginia who had previously ended a 30 year marriage, was able to trust in people again, accept compliments and began to come out of her shell

Virginia says, "Many co-workers thought I was stupid for getting involved with Dean. Some took bets on how long it would last."

"We're very happy.. Of course there have been some ups and downs, but we're coming up on 15-years of marriage. And I've also been clean for 16-years coming up August 6th." Said Dean.

A few other milestones Dean has reached over the years since we last talked with him are: His HIV has been undetectable for 15-years with the help of Truvada. After many trials and errors he was finally cleared of Hepatitis C in 2015 with the help of Sovaldi. And, after being a self-described heavy smoker since a teenager, Dean quit smoking in 2013 with the help of Chantix.

Both Dean and Virginia these days are involved in advocacy, support groups and intervention for the array of issues they've been faced with and have first hand experiences overcoming - HIV, Hep C and Drugs.

Dean says, "I give talks to people in detox because a lot of people don't know what they do to themselves and others. It's a false excuse that addiction is a family thing."

They also bring their advocacy and support to life by way of a play that Dean wrote. The play is titled, "Cold City Blues" and deals with addiction. There's a character who is HIV-positive and it's been going mostly in southern California for 7-years now.

Dean said, "Everyone in the cast is an addict except for Virginia. The person who was supposed to play the prostitute got arrested so Virginia had to fill in and she's been playing the part ever since. It's basically a story about my life. Being a wanna be dope man, a wanna be pimp, being around hookers. There's humor but it's serious. I play a transvestite and there's a funeral scene with a coffin. People cry because if they're an addict, they can relate."

To protect the anonymity of the cast, because of their past addictions, the play can't be seen on YouTube or any other social media although they'll be putting on the play over Labor Day weekend in Pomona, California.

So what are Dean and Virginia's plans for the future?

Virginia said, "We want to continue the play but I'm getting too old to play the hooker." Dean chimed in, "Yeah, and I'm getting too fat to play the transvestite."

He continued, "We want to continue to advocate for people who are struggling. I've been through everything; fear, blame, loneliness, resentment and Virginia has felt worthless in the past. There's a lot of people who don't care about HIV anymore and we need to change that."

If you would like to get in touch with Dean or Virginia Page, you can reach them at Beacons of H.O.P.E.; 1950 E. Badillo St., #288; West Covina, CA 91791 or email at kostasgreekusa@aol.com.

 

Copyright 2017, Positive Health Publications, Inc.


This magazine is intended to enhance your relationship with your doctor - not replace it! Medical treatments and products should always be discussed with a licensed physician who has experience treating HIV and AIDS!