Thursday, August 14, 2008

what hiv means to me

It seems that for the past couple of weeks, I have been meeting people that have felt comfortable enough to tell me how HIV has effected there lives, either knowing someone that has passed away or them having it themselves. In this day in age, I think all of us has been effected by it. Sure we talk about how the government & health agencies should help in prevention and spreading the word. But how often do we just have a general conversation about it, and how it makes us feel on a social level? I just wanted to open up a dialogue with you guys about my views about it, and maybe you can ask the same questions among your friends.

Disclaimer: I am HIV Negative, but does it matter? 
Would you treat me different if I was Positive?

How would you feel if you had HIV?
I think that I would be shocked and sad at first. I would really need a lot of love and support. I think I have been very conscious about my sexual practices. The biggest thing that would beat me up, would be my level of guilt and my carelessness. Everything happens for a reason, but I think it would be a hard process to kinda get past the "its all my fault" phase. Even the most careful and conscious people can get it once. Hopefully I would get enough courage to learn to deal with it, and continue living my life as if it was my last. I would love to talk and help others though.

How would you feel not having HIV?
I am extremely blessed, but can't guarantee that I will always be HIV negative. With every sexual encounter I may have, and the whole 6 month window, you can never be 100% sure you do or you don't have it. Dealing with guys, you always have to ask, and sometimes they say "I don't have it," but they may not even know, so you still have to be careful. So can you really say that your dating someone that is fully negative?

Would I be friends who those who are HIV+?
Of course! People are People! I am not one to judge, and what happens to someone I am sure was a careless mistake. Having a social support is always important! I dont think of anyone less. I think that is important for all of us to open our minds about that, and not stigmatize people.

Would you date someone who is HIV+?
That has always gone through my mind for a really long time, but my answer would be yes. LOVE surpasses all, and if I was positive, I would want someone to see past that and LOVE me just the same.  It can be hard, Im sure! But if both parties stay protected, and have open conversations about it, it should be fine. There are so many "hot" sexy things to do then just penetration.  Sex should always be about intimacy anyway.

Should a man reveal they are HIV + on a dating website?
I think it depends on the person. I think it is courageous of those who do! But I am pretty firm on not letting my business out like that reagardless. What about other STDs? Should we list those on the site as well, because clearly that is important to. I think overall those conversations should be made in person and BEFORE you have sex with them.

If you was dating someone, when should
be the right time to talk about your HIV status?
I don't think there is a definite answer. Ideally you should talk about it before having sex, or maybe talk about getting tested together, so that way your not singling anyone out. But I guess within the first couple of months of getting to know the person. If I was positive, I would hate to tell someone, and they are really not the one, and they go telling my business all over the place.

If two men are both positive, should they have raw sex?
What two men do in there own bedrooms is up to them. Yet always remember, there are different strands of HIV, and if you get another strand, you may end up worst then you already are. You should just be protected at all times.

If your friend wanted to date someone, 
and you know they were HIV+, would you tell your friend?
This is such a sensitive question! Umm... Ok I think that anyone's status should be private, and that person should tell anyone on there own time. The best way to approach it is to ask your friend, "Hey I know you guys have been kicking for awhile, did you guys get tested together or do you know his status?" There you have open up the conversation for them to either think about without fully telling them.  Try that a couple more times until the person finds out on there own. You can always go up to the HIV+ friend and kinda ask them, but in the end, it is there relationship, and they have to deal with it on there own time.

If you was HIV+ and you found out the person that gave it to you always knew, but didn't tell you, would you get revenge and run there name through the streets, or run them over on the street, LOL?
Giving someone HIV knowingly is a crime, and they have have laws for that, so there is no point of you getting a criminal record for getting revenge!

Do you think that HIV was created by the government? 
I know that Kanye West thinks so, but I don't have enough evidence to say this is true.

Why do you think that the epidemic is so huge in the black gay community?
I think it is because we don't talk about it and we stigmatize those who do. In our society we don't live healthy sexual lives. Everyone thinks it can't happen to them, but it can, and we need to be more mindful of that, even myself.

Do you think that HIV is a curse sent down from GOD for the sin of homosexuality?
NO! Disease is a natural biological occurrence that we inflict on ourselves as human beings. What sense would it make for disease to have a mission for a certain group's actions? Why didn't white people get a disease for the slavery of African Americans? How about the Nazis? Nature is what it is, who is to say that HIV is was created to enhance our immune systems and this is just a natural way of us evolving? There have been other epidemics that we have overcome, and this won't be any different.

Do you think that someone can be cured from HIV medically and spiritually?
The ability and power of one's faith is unbound and so is the design of our bodies. There is even a story of a woman who's immune system is so strong she can fight off the virus on her own! There will be a cure, either through medicine or by GOD, question is, what is  the difference between the two?

Tell Me Your Thoughts,
What does HIV mean to you?


jerzey_reality said...

I agree wit you that if I were to contract HIV I would be depressed and sooo blame myself.  I'm a survivor and after a substantial down time I think I would get it together and focus on keeping myself as healthy as possible while not infecting anyone else.
Not having it, makes me feel truly blessed.  With all the different things out there now that are infecting us at alarming rates, I thank GOD that I have not caught anything and GOD willing I will keep it that way.
Of course I would be friends wit someone who is HIV+.  Sometimes friends are the only ones who can help bring u up when the world is beatin u down.
I don't know if I would date someone who is HIV+.  For me there are a bunch of variables to if i found out he was HIV+ after dating for a while and liked him than I don't see y I would stop seeing him.  But then again who knows???
As far as someone revealing their HIV status on a dating website....i guess it's up to the person, however, wouldn't it be nice if people were 100% honest as a way of keeping themselves and others healthy?
Getting tested together is a great way of discussing HIV status.  It shows that both people are interested in knowing.
Raw sex is really determined by the people involved.  Different strands of HIV react differently so I don't think it would be a good idea.  And let's be real....HIV isn't the only thing that can be contracted.
If my friend wanted to date someone I knew was HIV+...ummm....I think I would tell that friend.  I would want my friend to know wut they may be getting themselves into...however, I do understand that someone's status is their business.
I can't honestly say wut I would do if I contracted HIV and knew who gave it to me...but ummm....could I use temporary insanity as my defense in court??? Cuz I know I would end talkin to Judge so and so.
I think that we need to focus on protecting and educating ourselves as to what is going on.  In the end we are responsible for our actions and have to live with the consequences.

kennyking78 said...


Thank you so much for this post! About every six months or so, I talk about HIV testing/prevention/awareness on my blog just to remind us that we are all in this together, but you took it one step further by asking yourself/us specific questions about the way we feel. I feel like this is important, because there needs to be more dialogue out there.

First off, it would not surprise me if several people in your closest circle of friends turned out to be HIV positive. It hits that close to home.

I used to live my life in fear of contracting HIV when I was out there having random sex with people and still have to be cognizant of if even though I am in a committed relationship. I used to think that it would be devastating, but am not sure if I feel the same way today.

Though contracting HIV would not be ideal, I had to create a space in my mind that lessened and rationalized the condition (note that I don’t call it a DISEASE and try my hardest not to refer to it as an infection—those words carry negative connotations).

For me, being a newly 30 year old man, the one thing I think I have on my side is time and education.

HIV/AIDS is only a little over 25 years old. I grew up always hearing about HIV/AIDS and have watched the immense devastation it caused in its early years and continues to cause all over the world, but I have also seen the huge improvements that have been made in recent years to anti-retroviral drugs. I see and hear about people who have LIVED with the condition for 25 years, 18 years, 15 years. I read the story about the woman whose immune system is fighting it on her own. These people are out there.

Once again, being only 30 has allowed me to grow up hearing about sex with condoms and what-not, but people who are even only 10 years older than me were having sex in a different, more casual time. People had already discovered sexual habits and tastes by the time HIV/AIDS hit the streets. They weren’t prepared and had to suffer so badly in the beginning. Unfortunately that created a stigma for the condition in the minds of most.

The reasons we are the gross majority of people suffering from HIV/AIDS are obvious.

One, we don’t talk about it. That just eats me up on the inside. We didn’t talk about hypertension and diabetes either, but look what’s happened. We have embraced those conditions, accepted them and work through them with our loved ones… even though, contracting diabetes in my opinion is no different than contracting HIV/AIDS. Both happen after not taking the proper precautions to prevent them.

Second, and even more importantly in my opinion, we, minorities, can’t afford the medication to live long, healthy lives after contracting HIV/AIDS. In some cases, white people can’t either… please, do you really believe that ALL of these white people are dying of cancer nowadays (I learned in college, when taking a journalism class, that when you read an obituary and the person has ever died of “complications due to” or “complications linked with” it usually is an indication of HIV/AIDS)?

How many of us have health insurance? How many of us wait to have sex until we acquire health insurance? How many of us have the type of jobs that offer health insurance?

My biological father (not my stepfather who has been married to my mother since I was three years old) is HIV+. I also know several people who are HIV+. They all deal with it in their own way. Some look toward the bright side of things, others can’t wrap their minds around it. I try to have an encouraging word whenever I can.

I am HIV negative, but realize that I live in an HIV positive world. My status could change at any time. Really, if you think about it… if one of us has it, we all have it. We are in this together.

Sorry Shawn for taking up so much of your space, but I couldn’t help myself. That was a GREAT, SMART and RESPONSIBLE post.

Promiscuous X said...

This is a very touchy subject indeed shawn and I dont know how I feel about it man. I already spoke to you on the side about this but yeah...

I have dated someone HIV +

If I was possitive. I think Id have a nervous breakdown...werd up

Sad but I think being gay is a curse to me, then being gay and HIV+ ...ughhh man I dont even know, chaos...

It feels good not to have HIV. But knowning I can catch it makes me sad. So I deceided to refrain from my promiscous behavior 2 months ago. September is my next check-up.

If someone gave me HIV knowning they had HIV after I asked there status and thought they were sincere about it. I think I would be in jail or the electric chair. Thats something I advise someone not to do which is betray my trust. Honesty is key.

I have HIV + friends and treat them just the same. I get sad sometimes cuz I know their situation could worsen over time, so mentally im not ready for it.

Good Post

ponoono said...

hiv is just a virus, a blood borne pathogen of which we have many such as hepatitis B.

do we teach our people how to avoid blood borne pathogens? apparently not well enough..

do we counsel our friends and loved ones about risky behavior? apparently not well enough...

why does LUST trump common sense every time? why do our friends who use condoms still eat ass without protection? or suck and swallow?

people carrying a virus are still people and should be treated as such. period.

note to kennyking: yes all those white people are dying of cancer. millions have it and will die from it. day after day. there are far more people with dying cancer worldwide than there are people with hiv. i don't have hiv, but i have had cancer 3 times. stop the hate.

why has God made his people smart enough that we can cure virtually ANy disease contracted by white mice... but not by people?

and how come we do all this research and find cures for disease in white mice.. and none for black mice?

is cancer in white mice caused by being touched by people?

Mr. Jones said...

Interesting thoughts. I remember the conversation we had at Outback about this in April.

kennyking78 said...

@ ponoono

I don't know you and you obviously don't know me to accuse me of throwing hate. If anything, I and the message I spread are about the total opposite, which is love and embrace of all.

HIV/AIDS has been painted to be a black man/black woman/gay black man/African disease. If don't believe me, just look at your next newscast that talks about HIV/AIDS and how it is growing in record number. You will not see caucasians used as examples.

What I was referring to with the "cancer" comment was the fact that different cancers stem from HIV/AIDS and it is my belief that the media has no problem highlighting death due to "complications due to" cancer (because there is a social empathy for it) for a white person but black people are the face of HIV/AIDS. I am talking about the branding put upon one group of people while the other seems unaffected, not either condition (cancer or HIV/AIDS).

I am sorry you have had to fight cancer three times and am happy that you have lived to talk about it.

There was no hate intended in my comment, I just wanted to pass on a bit of information that I learned along the way.

Andre J Allen II said...

you are always amazin me shawn great post and keep doin a great job.

bLaQ~n~MiLD said...

Great post Shawn.


Q said...

Wow, insightful post man...Thank You!

thegayte-keeper said...

good post...