Edit ModuleShow Tags

In My Words: Jaimie Kahale

This HIV-positive Kaneohe woman works for the nonprofit Life Foundation, telling her story, counseling clients and training educators.


Photo: Alex Viarnes

This month, it will be 18 years living with this disease. I was 26 when I was diagnosed. One of the questions that comes up a lot is, “Was I angry?” I wasn’t angry. I didn’t get angry until much later. That first year, I got myself informed. I knew I had a lot of risks. I was in recovery from drugs and alcohol, and I knew that was a link to getting HIV, so I started speaking to small groups of women in treatment, sharing my experiences. Then I started talking to at-risk youth. I could relate to them. I remember what it was like, thinking I was cool, getting high, going to clubs, dating older men.

Sometimes it’s easier to talk about things than other times, depending on what is going on in my own personal life, my health. It’s really difficult to watch another positive woman struggle with this disease—it’s like looking in the mirror. If they’re newly diagnosed, it’s about getting them to a place of peace where they have HIV and this is not the end all, be all.

Our whole theme is “Know your status.” I believe that knowing my status early on is one of the reasons I am still alive today. I was able to change behaviors. Rethink my priorities. Make a decision whether I wanted to live to live, or live to die.

[Working at Life Foundation] has given me huge purpose in my life. Working with the positive women, it’s not what they ask me, it’s what they get to see. They see me continuing on. They see me here.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Subscribe to Honolulu

Honolulu Magazine November 2017
Edit ModuleShow Tags



What’s Next for These Stores After Ward Warehouse Closes for Demolition?

Ward Warehouse

Miss your favorite Ward Warehouse merchants? Here’s where to find them.


33 Real Problems (No, Seriously) Only Hawai‘i Locals Can Handle


It’s paradise. So why are we so stressed?


21 Hilarious Hawai‘i Memes That are Too Real for Locals

Hawaii Apartments

Hawai‘i nō ka ʻoi when it comes to the beaches, the food and even our memes.


Here’s How to Survive a Possible North Korea Nuclear Strike in Hawai‘i

North Korea

What you need to do according to the Hawai‘i State Department of Defense.


20 Great O‘ahu Hikes

Explore 20 great adventures that offer beautiful vistas, waterfalls and more.



Edit ModuleShow Tags