How Has HIV/AIDS Touched Your World?

December 1, 2011
Category: Health

As we acknowledge World AIDS Day today, it occurs to me that while this is a global epidemic, the fallout of this disease tends to be very personal. That's why we're going to use today's post to pay tribute to those we've lost, share stories about our first encounter with HIV/AIDS, and talk about how it's effected our own lives.

When did you first learn about HIV/AIDS vs. when did you encounter it or someone with it in your own life? Have you ever lost a loved one to this disease? Because of how "treatable" HIV is, do you think young people today take the disease too lightly? Please use the comments section below to start a conversation or post a personal story about your experiences.

Most importantly of all, today is an important reminder about practicing safe sex and getting tested often. When was the last time you were tested?

Tags: World AIDS Day
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Post written by RobHeartsDH (View Author Profile)
About this author: Rob lives in Manhattan with his black pug Riley. When he’s not thinking about daddies, he enjoys writing, eating burritos, watching copious amounts of television, and thinking about his next meal.
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Comments

Have I been affected by and with AIDS? Yes I have.. I am a long tern survivor of 28 years. I lost my boyfriend Tony over 20 years ago. I lost my best friend Bob. He was so deep in the closet that I had to tell his family while he was on his death bed, that he was gay and he had AIDS and he was dying. I went outside weeping telling my God, " I can not do this anymore. Please help me!" I laid my head on the roof of my truck. A very nice older woman looked at me and asked me if I was all right. I told her about my sadness. She took my hand and told me, " You look big and strong.. Do you love this man? If you do go in there and tell them and love him. You do that for him and he will watch you from heaven. I asked her why are you helping me? With a very sad look on her face she said, " My son died of AIDS here four months ago. He never told me he was gay. He was so ashamed of himself. I was not ashamed of him, but he was of himself and his life. Do not be ashamed of your life or your friend". While I write this I am wiping away tears. Yeah AIDS has affected my life. It will till my dying day.

POZ since Aug 1992....lost three Lovers real close together....last one was 18 years ago -

my diagnois 16+ yrs ago was so severe, it outed me being gay and hiv poz. my dad died od aids in 85, destroyed family so much, I feared ever comin out. now I live in Ptown. go figure

Ward

The first time I got myself tested for HIV/AIDS was memorable. For starters it was a free test done at the campus and second it was from the a**holes from Samaritan's Purse. The mofos wouldn't give me the results unless I prayed with them. Had to swallow my pride and endure half an hour of Bible Thumping BS and finally got them.

Got negative results and was relieved and also disgusted at the emotional blackmail they performed.

Still am free of HIV to this day so I'm fine but it cemented my disgust at evangelical people and their shady ways to force their points of view into others.

I lost a great friend 11 years ago. I still remember his family crying and telling every one he had cancer. Well the truth is yes he had cancer, the speedy process was triggered by aids. When he died I had to tell his family he was gay and that he had aids.
Till this day, I wish I had one more day with my friend to tell him it's ok, there was no need to be afraid or ashamed of loving another person. My friend is gone and I miss him like crazy. I learned from his mistakes and he gave me the beat gift ever, the gift ok knowledge and power. I have the power to tell others it's ok to be positive, it's ok to be scared and it's ok to give me a hug.

I know Hector would be so happy to be here, but he is in heaven
Looking down at us and hoping we find a cure. To those of you that are positive
Be strong I love you guys and to the negative guys keep it that way.

Aids has changed my life in many ways but in the best way it gave me a guardian angel.

I HAVE COME ALONG WAY IM LIVING PROOF YOU CAn live anormal life with it as im going into my 24th year but there are so many men women straight gay and other that doot think thety willever catch it its so sad in this day and age that so many still pratice unsafe sexIwould think that after 30 years these kids would of learned something they are so ignorant this day and age oh! and all the guys that are cheating onthier wifes thats really sad thsat they do not know thier status nor thier partners ilost my lver 25yrs ago to it he wasnt as lucky as myself iturned my whole life around because my life was too precious for me to destroy it after my diaganosis any way every one HAPPY WORLD AIDES DAY IM SO THANKFUL TO THE SUPREME BEING IWAS GIVEN YET A FOURTH CHANCE ITS NOT MY TIME TO LEAVE IDO AS MUCH EDUCATING AS ICAN WHEN IMEET PEOPLE ON LINE IM NOT ASJHAMED IHAVE IT NOR AM I ASHAMED TO EDUCATE THE PEPOLE WHO WISH TO KNOW ABOUT IT HOW ITS RECIVED OK GOD BLESS PETER HERE IN THE BRONX

I have lost many good friends and now I try to help those infected.

What I remember most about the day in 1989 when I was told I tested positive was walking to my car feeling stunned, leaning my head against the steering wheel, shedding a few tears of shock, and then hearing music coming from someone's apartment window nearby. It was Sting, singing "Soul Cages." And I grew still and listened until it was finished, lifted my head up and said "No. I'm not giving in to this. I refuse. The answer is NO." I then went home, read a book called "Creative Visualization," and chose a doctor to start treatment. 22 years later I am still healthy, employed, still enjoying life, have had my first novel published, and still expect to find a partner, (ever the wild Irish heart beating romantic.) I have not given HIV center stage in my life, nor do I ignore it in clouds of denial. I do not see it as something to be ashamed of; I see it as nothing more than a sign that I have lived life.

HIV/AIDS has at times been in the fore front of my mind and at times in the background. It is ever present in my mind, swirling around with all the other things that my head and heart are involved in. I am still negative at 53, and I am grateful for that. I am actually waiting on my latest test results. They will be back in the next couple of weeks. I do get tested regularly because I do not always play safely. It would be my wish/prayer/relief etc., if everyone gay or straight would set aside the stigma of HIV and get tested. We all would be so much better off.
As for the effect of AIDS in my life, I have lost friends and loved ones. Beautiful people who's lives were cut short by this awful disease. I also know men who live with this disease daily. They are doing great and as BJHeaven has written, they live, love, and acknowledge the fact. May this new day bring out the compassion that all sick people deserve regardless of the disease they have. Y'all take good care out there. Stay well, happy and whole.

" I do get tested regularly because I do not always play safely."
and then u go on about...
"May this new day bring out the compassion that all sick people deserve regardless of the disease they have"

If u are a man enough not to take responsibilities, be a man enough to face the consequences. no compassion needed!

Everyone makes choices, and I know it is not my place to judge. While I respect your opinion maxlear, I believe that choices may be made that are regretted later. Just because someone makes a decision that I may not agree with does not mean I must have no compassion for the pain or consequences brought around to them as a result. I am a big proponent of personal responsibility, and I feel that responsibility and receiving compassion from others are not mutually exclusive.

Further more, "May this new day bring out the compassion that all sick people deserve..." reads to me as a well-wishing for all of those affected with illness in life, regardless of whether it was contracted through personal choices or hand of fate. It does not, to me, seem a lack of responsibility, or an excuse for such.

And since the subject of responsibility was brought on the table, in my opinion it is shortsighted to splice two unrelated comments from an internet post, read into them something that was never stated, and pass judgment. I know that as in imperfect being personal responsibility is the best choice to which I can devote my energy. To take on the responsibility to judge others is, with all due respect, and once again specifically for me, a waste of time. So I think I will choose to take on the responsibility for my own actions, and as well take on the responsibility to have compassion for those around me.

I don't think compassion for others is typically responsible for the heartache and difficulties suffered by humans, however, fear and ignorance often compounds suffering. I wish for you compassion always, regardless of any turn life may take. Take care (o=

With all respect...

Thank you, joabelo.
I had similar reactions to what we read above, but they were just that: rxns, images, thoughts, feelings, all without words. I am grateful for your entry, for you spoke for me too. You expressed in words what I was struggling to manifest in language. Please continue to insert yourself often, because many of us fail to strike with the same impact and can only wish that we could. You have gifts of insight, expression, and compassion. Many will learn life lessons from you, and as for me, I am inspired.
Crass and hasty judgements are all too often regrettable. May all of us be open, considerate, hopeful, and respectful for it often leads us to be caring, helpful, humble and beautiful.

Quite a few years ago my friend Frank was taken by AIDS. The hospice where he had been, held a memorial service every six months for all those that passed through that wonderful,caring place. Friends and family were asked to send in photos of their lost ones and as a man played guitar and sang there was a slide show of those that had died. One particular photo came on of a very handsome young man and suddenly a woman sitting to my left started to quietly cry. The service ended and she still sat there crying. I moved closer and took her hand and remarked how hard it is to lose someone. She said, "You don't understand, my son died from AIDS last month." "When he came out to me and his father we would not talk to him." "We disowned him." "He and I never talked again and now he's gone, forever, and I can't tell him how sorry I am." I really did not know what to say, so I just put my arm around her and let her cry. I can only hope that the young man had good, loving friends that supported him and carried him along until the end.

My ex partner and I are still great friends and share most of our life together still . He was diagnosed HIV+ two years ago It was a bombshell for us both . It has brought us closer and now I can return the support he gave me when I had throat cancer . There are good and bad daysfor him mentally , his health is good and his treatment appears to be doing a great job . I have to say the clinic that he is with are amazing and great people and support ,no matter what the question . The stigma of telling others is still a major problem and that causes a lot of isolation for him, which means he does not lead a very active sex life now for fear of rejection . My thought to all the people living with HIV and may this soon be history .

I'm a recently retired healthcare professional who also happens to be gay. I came out in the mid 60's when there was an epidemic of STDs among gay men but most were treatable. I used condoms without exception and insisted that my partners do likewise. Consequently I was not very popular (to say the least). In my practice of nearly 50 years I've seen remarkable progress in the treatment of HIV and more recently the extension of life-span as well as quality of life improve, but I find it discouraging that so many young men now believe that STDs are a thing of the past. On the contrary, like most diseases STDs morph from treatable to untreatable constantly. Monogamy isn't for every man. Some of us are and will remain promiscous. Don't impair your judgement with alcohol and/or substance abuse. Enjoy but use common sense.

As a performer in gay clubs from Florida to California for more than 30 years, I have known a huge number of men who became HIV+ and were ultimately defeated by various opportunistic germs, viruses, or their own depression. Some I knew very well, others I barely knew - and one I really disliked, but I helped take care of him in the hospital because his primary caregiver was a good friend who needed to get away every now and then. And one was a cousin - a wonderful young man who, like a lot of others, got sick before we really knew much about HIV.

I think about many of these people often. So many things in my life remind me of them over and over again -- a picture, a song, the taste or smell of a certain food, another friend who mentions them in passing -- so many things.

I have learned over the years to focus on the joy these people brought to my life; I try not to dwell on the loss I feel. Some days are easier than others.

A few words to those who still discriminate against HIV+ people on this site. When you reject the HIV+ without giving a thought to anything but their status you reject not only the virus but the entire person. If gay, lesbian, bisexual and transexual people are already second class citizens in this country then those of you who discriminate against the positive cruelly relegate those with HIV to an even lower "third class status". Sadly it is mostly those in our own community who are responsible for this. America is not a caste country that calls people "untouchable" but you with your words and actions are doing exactly that. I would ask those of you who fill your profiles with words like "UB2" or "disease free" to consider that those words do more than hurt people, they marginalize them. Let me go further, you more than marginalize them, you throw them away. For you these people don't exist, because you want nothing to do with them.

As long as this kind of reaction is still prevalent anywhere in America or the world, sexually active people will continue to be afraid to know their status and will not seek treatment. Those who still discriminate, try to get beyond your ignorance. Know the facts. It is possible for the HIV+ to live, work and yes, love and play with negative people safely and that it is nearly impossible for those who are under treatment and have undetectable viral loads to pass on the virus. Use whatever protection you think necessary but for heavens sake don't throw people away! I deliberately do not list my status on my profile because I do not want to be judged on one single factor. Get to know me first and if it leads to sex then we will certainly have that discussion. I also don't list safe sex because I want to know what your definition of safe sex is before we go further. If you think that means wrapping someone's body from head to toe in plastic then we aren't thinking of the same thing. If it means preforming every action including forgoing kissing or doing it through a barrier then we aren't on the same page. Ask me what my definition of safe sex is and I will ask you what your definition is and we will take it from there. Years ago the medical professionals in order to contain the disease promoted sero sorting. I knew instinctively at the time that this would lead to the ghetto-izing of the HIV+ and it has. It has also promoted and further allowed discrimination of the HIV+ in our own community.

i am HIV negative and yes, i am one of those who chooses not to have sex with openly hiv positive men... do i discriminate or is it simply my choice and my right to choose who i have sex with?
this year has seen the highest number of newly diagnosed hiv gay men in the uk since the hiv crisis started. it would be very naive and dangerous to think that suddenly we have a rapid increase of cheating boyfriends or perhaps the quality of condoms has dropped. BB sex became a norm. it all started in the late 90s when HIV positive men in america decided it was pointless to protect themselves from something they already had. today, thanx to those men, (and now also thanx to the advanced hiv treatments), the BB sex is well established on our gay scenes.
In my late 20s i used to go to sex clubs where id meet men and have, well, sex. i would always use a condom without any discussion. HIV has never been an issue for me.... not until i started, not only, to be rejected but often insulted by poz BBers for being safe. i have been told on numerous occasions to "get a fucking life" or indeed been called "a safe sex nazi". so i gave up on sex in those clubs and id start meeting men through websites where id discuss my hiv negative status and safe sex upfront... while i have met hiv+ men that have fully respected my rules and my negative status i also have met hiv+ men that have tried to persuade me to BB sex knowing i was hiv-!!! luckily i have never give in to the temptation.
so called "discrimination" works both ways, bigtomcatsf. seems like when it comes to poz men openly BBing, it is their right and their choice, but when it comes to HIV negative men choosing not to have sex with those men, we "discriminate". dont sex clubs for hiv+ men only discriminate against hiv- men? if we had sex clubs for hiv- men only, the poz men would be first in the queue waving their discrimination flags!
i have lost any respect i have ever had for hiv+ men. and although not all hiv+ men are the same, they all have one thing in common. they have failed to protect themselves from catching hiv one way or the other at some point in their lives. unless u were born with it, hiv is 100% avoidable. all needed is to follow the rules of safe sex!
i choose not to have sex with openly hiv+ men not because im ignorant but because i (as many of my hiv negative friends and acquaintances) had so many bad experiences with them. i have been rejected, insulted and not respected. yet my only sin was to protect myself.
if the hiv+ community took their responsibilities for their actions and stopped BBing, spreading diseases (including hep c), normalising BB sex, rejecting and insulting negative men (or indeed all men that insist on using condoms) for being safe, there wouldnt be the "discrimination" against them.
i say... if you are a man enough not to take responsibilities, be a man enough to face the consequences!

(hiv+ men) all have one thing in common. they have failed to protect themselves from catching hiv one way or the other at some point in their lives. unless u were born with it, hiv is 100% avoidable. all needed is to follow the rules of safe sex!

I have been HIV+ for the last twenty years. At the time I was diagnosed I had no reason to suppose that the result would be positive. In fact the only reason I was tested at all was because it was requested by our insurance company in order to renew our life insurance. My partner and I were in a monogamous relationship and had been for the previous nine years. Or at least I believed so. It turned out that I was the only monogamous partner. Subsequently the virus was brought into our relationship by my then partner who said nothing to me about having slept around. He died three years after our diagnosis.
I am sorry that maxlear has had such a bad experience from meeting HIV+ men but we are not all the same. Personally I am terrified of passing on the virus to another human being and no-one has ever caught it from me. I would not allow that to happen. Sadly I was not allowed that level of altruism myself.
If some HIV+ negative gay men wish to carry around their freedom from the virus like some sanctimonious badge of honour then so be it. It would be nice though if it were not done at the expense of others. HIV+ does not in any form equate with unsafe sex and never should. Whatever your status and whatever your partner tells you about his, assume he is negative and keep him that way.

Why do so many people present anecdotal evidence as irrefutable fact and use that as an excuse for intolerance, ignorance, and prejudice? I feel great sadness that as a community who is already separated and marginalized, so many of us choose to further discriminate against eachother.

"i have lost any respect i have ever had for hiv+ men."...

While I am truly disheartened that you have had such horrendous experiences with some hiv+ men, I think perhaps it is a little narrowminded to lump every man suffering from the disease into one role, that of the indiscriminate predator. If you have had negative experiences communicating with "poz bbers" on sex sites, then may I suggest ceasing communication with anyone who practices unsafe sex regardless of a posted status, because if you think you have never had sex with a positive person just because everyone you choose to partner says they are negative, I would be surprised to find that you were correct. Perhaps meeting men through a different forum might be wise, since it seems from the experiences you have shared to have been such a traumatic experience for you. Prujiduce only perpetuates prejudice, and that seems to be the case here.

I further feel that there is nothing wrong with being a hiv- individual who chooses to only have sexual contact with negative partners. Were I an hiv+ individual who encountered such a situation I would definitely respect that person's decision without judgement. Conversely, I have known hiv+ men who will only choose positive partners, and I can respect that decision as well. What I believe is that whatever choice we make, there is a way to honor ourselves and others and show respect and compassion through our decisions, regardless of what that specific decision may be.

Furthermore, the last I read one of the biggest contributing factors to the spread of hiv is not necessarily positive men who go out and specifically try to infect others (though I'm not saying those men do not exist) but the high number of gay man who say they are negative, choose unsafe sex, and do not get tested, and as a reslut have no accurate gauge as to their actual status. This is the clearest example of ignorance surrounding the hiv issue. If one wants to stay negative, then they should protect themself however one feels is best. However, it IS possible to do that without marginalizing and discriminating an entire population.

Also, while some may have contracted the virus as the result of a personal decision, there are others for whom that wasn't necessarily the case (condom breaking, infedility in a supposed monogomous relationship, rape, genetic predisposition to compulsive issues including sex or substance abuse, contraction during a window period, lack of exposure to sexual education due to various characteristics of ones upbringing, etc..). Even for those who chose unsafe sex and contracted the virus as a direct result, does that mean they are not deserving of compassion? Is there anyone out there that is so perfect they have not made a decision they later regretted? I find that taking responsibility is more about admitting your mistakes and accepting the consequences than never making a mistake at all. I don't feel that it is necessary to feel sorry for every person who was diagnosed with a disease, just as I do not feel it is necessary to withhold compassion for every person diagnosed with a specific disease, in this cas HIV.

By all means be angry at the individuals who have been the source of your negative experiences, not everyone who is included in the demographic of hiv+ men.

Amen, brother!!!!!!! I'm undetectable for many years, but would rather keep my HIV status a secret because of the cruelty and ignorance of many gays, even of some long time friends who claim to be well informed and liberal in their thinking. I thought this was 2011, not Europe in the 1940's, if you get my meaning.

You are so right on about this situation. I have been POZ for almost 30 years. I have also felt the discrimination of my own peers as you have so tastefully put.
What bothers me is that we are the generation of gay men who fought for the right to be ourselves. Ask this new generation about Stonewall, or Harvey Milk.
When HIV raised its ugly head we all were in fear. But that didn't stop us from starting Act Up putting ourselves out there to be arrested and harassed just for handing out condoms, and clean needle exchange programs.
It for whatever reason always becomes an issue with the negs who give off this attitude that they are somehow better than we are.
All the profiles as you said with UB2 and tested negative and the date, and I get tested every 6 months. Really pisses me off.
I was in a relationship with a guy for 13 years. I went into it poz, he is negative, and he still is so take responsibiliy for yourself and your actions, and don't blame everyone else for your pitfalls. One more and I will shut up....I am upfront with people. It would be nice to get a little respect.

I am on a few sex sites. Only recently, ironic to this blog appearing, I have been rejected because of my Poz status. I am chatting for a few weeks with a guy in early 30's, lives with 3 straight room mates. He is NOT out to them. He is from Texas, family knows he is gay but they are very distant. He goes to play always out from house. His roomies suspect he is gay, but plays straight and has to stomach it. He wants so much to play with me but he is paranoid. I told him to get educated. Put on a condom and fuck me. He will only come over to j/o, as long as we are not next to each other. He says that my cum may land on him. Gawd !! Gets me so angry at these people. Only poz 15 months, on meds and undetectable. Went through plenty when I found out. Now, it is back burner. Joined some Poz mens rap groups and a Poz Los Angeles group. Hope my cyber friend will get over his fears, come over and have a good time.

As someone who is neg but who has lived through this nightmare since it began, I just want to urge you all to continue the safe sex message to the youth of today.
I was a young, lively guy in the seventies having wild sex with guys at the drop of a hat. Anything for fun seemed the way to go.
I watched as one by one, dozens of my friends died and the rest dissapeared from view due to the stigma attached. I read week after week, the death notices in the gay papers and started to dread who would be next. Thier memory haunts me to this day.
My partner of twenty years broke our agreement not to have unsafe sex, and brought the virus home one night. He paid with his life. Only some sort of miracle saved me from infection as we were certainly not having safe sex together.
it isn't usually mentioned but being Poz is not just a nightmare for you but also for all those around you that love you.
To the Poz guys reading, I wish you well and hope that you live in a community that doesn't treat you with hatred and suspicion, when respect and love is the best medicine known to man.
I am not very good with words of advice but if this quick message makes even one guy stop long enough to play it safe then It has worked.
Remember there will be plenty of time to get down and dirty when you know each other better.

I've lived longer with AIDS then I haven't. Found out I was positive at 25 when most people died within 2 years. Even though I had one precursor (thrush...which healed on it's own) I didn't have to start medication until about a year ago. This is a part of my life but not my life.

The hardest thing I have had to deal with was the death of my partner of 8 years. He was a sweet, gentle soul. When he died suddenly I slipped into a funk that slowly built a wall between me and the world around me. It's taken almost 20 years to come to terms with his passing and free myself from that depression.

I also lost many friends along the way. Not all from AIDS. Why I survived, even thrived, is anyone's guess. My doctor says I'll die of old age before I'll die from AIDS.

My post says "POZ seeking same." I'm not against being around negative guys. But it's just easier being intimate with someone who is dealing with the same issues I'm dealing with. I guess that's about it.

I have been poz for about 10 years now. I was given the virus by my ex, who after I had sucked him off more than a few times, told me he was poz before we fucked. He was and still is undetectable and a very healthy man. So when he told me I really wasn't freaked. He had been living with it for years and I knew his health was exceptional. I was tested right away, and monitored my counts every 3-6 months. Since then, I have had no health issues whatsoever, and have yet to have to take any meds.
I was a total whore when I was younger, and wonder why I didn't contract it back then, but I had had enough and quit the bar scene in 84, at the age of 20 (had been hangin at the Tiki Room in GG for years and no one knew I wasn't 21), and I personally don't know anyone that died from hiv/aids. I do so completely and totally feel for every single life and person that has. I so wish things could have been different then as it is now. But then it was a very different atmosphere in male sexuality.
One's health has to take precedence over one's desires. I have my fun, but living right, eating right, daily exercising and love of life have kept me healthy.
Please make the right choices for yourselves and those you love.
Stay happy and healthy men. Hugz to all.

Back in the 70's I got sick and my gay doctor said I had CMV. Somehow I lived thru that. It turned into what later would be known as AIDS. It's been over 30 years. In 1989 I along with my partner got the official diagnosis. Only one drug was available. AZT. They gave us too much. I lost 40 lbs. before I stopped the drug against the advice of the doctor. Somehow I knew it was killing me. It killed my partner. He gave up months before other drugs came available. In the early 80's I lost so many friends, people I should have grown old with. They went fast. Some in a mater of weeks. I saw my share of death at an early age. My heart broke so many times, sometimes I can't remember. On Tuesady I turn 64 years old. I have been a test subject for every new drug that came along, good or bad. Along the way I got cancer. I struggled thru surgeries and radiation. It left me in pretty bad shape for a long time. I deal with the effects of all that everyday. Why I am still here I still cannot discover after many years of therapy and exploration. But I am still here. I live alone and remain single. I lost both my parents a few years ago, and most of my family. Back in the 60's and 70's we did not expose ourselves to AIDS. It took all of us by surprise. But today it is not a surprise. All of you young people who think you are invincible, and if you get it a pill will fix you, are not being realistic. It is a life of taking drugs and tests and it is not fun......please use the brains you have and THINK about what comes after you test positive............we had no choice, no options, no clue of what was coming. You do. Don't give that choice away.......

I lost my identical twin brother thru aids about 15 years ago!!! He was my best friend, my first lover, we could share things without saying a word but the hardest thing of all is that I stopped having sex with gay people because I am scared that I might go down the same path, (have you ever seen someone die of aids, it's not pretty!) it took me to grieve about 10 years for him! Crying at a drop of a hat!!!

I am also a long time surviour. 26 years now and going strong. I have lost 302 friends from this disease sinc 1986 and there are a few friends even now that are suffering and don't have all that much time left. I had to leave work early because of my health and that impacted me both financially and health wise. but I have come out through the storm and am living a very healthy and I must say full life. I have made a few good friends and they have stayed by me through all the crasp that I have gone through. For that I am very thankful. so, I plan on living to a ripe old age and hopefully before I die, there will be a cure found, so that no one else will have to suffer like I have.

35 yr. Survivor here, lost 27 friends to it. Have died and came back so many times. I can pinpoint the exact day i got the gift and who it was from, and through all of this it has made me stronger and more of a fighter then i knew i could ever be. And to the man who gave me this gift. I thank you and still love as much as the first time i laid my eyes on you.

I'm a 59 year old white HIV- man and given what I did when I was young [read this young men] I should not be typing this! No condoms, after-bar parties in my apartment, waking up with my stuff gone and a strange man in my bed.
Early 80's in KCMO. We're all partying along. I took calls on the Gay Hotline to tell most people where the bars were; very few asked questions about health issues. 1985 I moved to Dallas for work.
That's when AIDS began taking my friends and neighbors away.

In the 1980s, I was a grad student in the US. The Cornell Medical College had asked for gay volunteers to be yearly tested for AIDS. On year, as I returned for that test, the physician looking at my previous results said, "This marker [I forget which one] is unusually low, but this is normal as you have AIDS". I was stunned: I had never been told I had it. He then said, "I'll go check to make sure". He left the office and returned one-half hour later, one half-hour which was the longest in my life, which I saw pass before my eyes, this was the time where most people diagnosed with AIDS didn't live for more than a couple of years. "Oh, I was wrong", he said. It is only recently that I was tested again, and am still negative. For all those years I hadn't dared test again, my reason couldn't overcome that initial shock, coupled with the additional shock that it all could be a mistake, and that a physician couldn't care less. It didn't prevent me from having safe(r) sex, but in a way I always felt close to people with hiv, as I thought of myself as being "in remission" from that infection. This is why I am shocked by the lack of empathy -- or even just correct information -- of a previous commentator who threw his spite out at all these people: there are many ways to be infected in spite of precautions, even using a condom (it may break or leak, e.g.).

In the late 80s, when in Paris, I was using a BB, and saw a nickname "I just want to talk". I started talking with this guy, Laurent. He was living in another town, and told me he had full blown AIDS. I felt drawn to express my sympathy, and we engaged in long-distance communications. When he came to Paris to be hospitalized, I visited him: this was the first time we met, this was the first time I was surrounded with people sick of AIDS. When I left the hospital, I cried all the way home. Laurent lived another 8 years (a miracle then) through great remissions, and we had other opportunities to meet.

In 1994, I launched on the Web the first French-speaking web site containing resources about AIDS: all the places where one could be freely (and anonymously) tested, non profit organizations providing help to people with AIDS, any other documentation I could find about AIDS, its prevention, etc. There were professional organizations already active in that domain, but none had yet gone online (and resisted providing me for info to put on my web site: it wouldn't be "theirs", as if I prevented them from doing so). That site was referenced by the WHO, and lived until professional ones came online, and this one lost then its use.

Voilà.

There are lots of diseases and lots of treatments nowadays,..bu being SAFE would be a very big help for everyone..

One of the best buddies I had was HIV some years ago and he was more human and understanding of the issues of others in a bigger way than most people who chatter in mundane social ways without any substance to the chat. When he died then his hubby kept the wheelchair the guy used for a year or 2.

My first partner, the love of my life, was diagnosed in Sept. 1986 (as was I). He died in 1987. Literally 80% of my friends died during the 80's. My second partner died of cancer in 1990, accelerated by HIV. My third partner left me when I started on meds in '85, ,because he was neg, was convinced I would not live through it, and"had his own life to live". 16+ years later I'm still kicking, and healthier than I have been in years. Sad to see the overt discrimination against HIV+ guys, but all I can do is rise above it and consider myself very lucky! Still, the survivor guilt is very difficult, and some days or sensory triggers bring me right back. I'll overcome it all, though, I'm too damn hardheaded!

Thanks for bringing this up!

Hope Love Remembering what I'm doing here and forgetting the bullshit that people tell me is right when I know they are full of crap.

I started living with dying as a volunteer after working a SHANTI workshop. Shanti - Dignity.
It was for kids dying in children's hospitals, vets from WWI and WWII and Korean war, as well.

Then it hit very very close to home. It was other men like myself - gay men. And still after 30 years my parents say gays gave it to the africans and the people in every country. To hell with that nonsense. Let's go for mosquitos and rhyes monkey theories, too. Whatever the way it happened - the reason for me was to learn to embrace my own humanity. To look death in the face and say - you're not tough enough, big enough or final enough to scare me. And it has been perhaps 80 - 90 people I've had the honor to be with at their end.

It hit home as a cherished lover died in 1997. He taught me how to live a GREAT life, pay myself first, travel and don't accept crap - don't get into debt and believe your future will be better. BE BETTER. And as the room of 12 mourners and hanger's on sat in gloom - I kicked their sorry asses out of the room and said if you can't help then bugger off! I got into bed with my best friend and stayed for 3 days. He left knowing he did nothing wrong, he knew it had mistakes - and I think he was able to forgive quite a bit of things in his life that caused him fear and suffering. I just listened and stayed with him being true to himself. OH, and I made jokes. People dying love sex jokes. It respects the fact they still have a body. The group had a service and asked me to write the eulogy as I was the only one who knew him over 2 years. SIXTEEN outrageous years. When I did so - the executor and the woman who was getting all his money and possessions - asked for it as she was giving it to someone else that was going to read it. TO HELL WITH YOU. I boycotted the service. They went to a strip bar for a beer and that was the crappy reception as the woman who was incharge inherited $50,000. She was put on as heir to his work death benefits as they worked together and no one thought it would ever happen to them. I let it go. WOW that was hard to see him go. He was my light!

When I found my 2nd love - he was negative so was I. For 3 weeks. His ex came back and said he was positive and in ARC about 8 years ago and forgot during a month long drunk. He was sorry but he had been with HIV since the early 1980's obviously. Well, it killed our sex life, and our trip to the World Gay Games in Vancouver in 1990. We went there anyway - and he was in grief. I was just the caregiver who stood by him, got him to eat and sleep and to beautiful westcoast sites. We never saw an event - too many people. Too intense.

We had 3 years together and I knew he didn't believe in open relationships. So rather then suffer with no sex, I ended it. That was the worst pain in my life. I knew this was the soulmate of my life - the best yet! But we don't get all our soul mates as bed mates and life mates. We went from friends of 2 years, to lovers to living as a couple, to breaking up and to my leaving and moving 800 miles away. I still call him all the time. 2 days later, 5 months later it's like we pick up where we left off. We never have an unfinished emotional, thought or feeling against each other. Clear, loving, grateful, funny, upbeat, spirited and talking about the NOW. Living for him was about not having sex again. 20 years later - he's still not into it.

But as I returned to home - I went positive 3 years later. 17 years positive for me. It was so funny. The day I was told by my MD I was positive I was cast in a film about a true story of a man who helped a chinese woman stay in Canada and in university - while he and his lover housed and helped her to finish her medical degree. In the end the character dies. I died.
I don't remember the film at all. I was in shock. And it snowed a blizzard in a summer marina film site. They had to bring us inside to redo the scene. And the railings had to be cleared of snow every 30 minutes of 2 - 5 inches of heavy snow. What a riot. I saw the film last month. I couldn't imagine how bad it was. I just hung my head and went - OH WELL, THAT"S LIFE. It was the best I could do.

Now I'm living with an 83 year old Mum with dementia - and in a small town where the only gay people are the 43 lesbians couples that showed up for PRIDE DANCE. I was the only man there! I was totally messed up about that the second I arrived. After one beer and watching a gay male couple come in the door - pay $20 and look and then leave in horror - I found the humour in it for myself and left with good will. Bless them. Not my scene.

So I live with giving 90% of what I earn in disability pension to her.
I live with a dog that adores our walks and talks. She's a good listener.
I live with hope that things will change and this is okay for now.

When time changes things, when the spirit changes, when she moves on to Assisted Living because I can't do this anymore I will be guilt free. 68% of single adult children that care for elder parents die 5 - 7.5 years earlier then their siblings. And my siblings don't do anything,
at this time. Perhaps they will, perhaps they won't. It's all fine by me. But I have hope.

Hope they will join in before they regret lost chances. Hope I will move on and save and travel to Bali, Vietnam, Switzerland, Hawaii and Fiji. I hope to perfect my playwrighting and acting to be able to tour in a show that I'm preparing. And to produce a two man show about the Disney Brothers - WALT AND ROY. HUGE hit in the 1980's. It won more awards then I have digits. But I want to do it because it affirms the life Walt was losing. In fear that no one was helping them launch SNOW WHITE and the 7 DWARFS - he was drunk, with a gun, and losing his grip on reality. He needed a playmate. His brother needed him sober for another meeting.

See - when we need others - we find a way. Look what getting through that night did for them?

I want to share that there is a deep well of love, of light, of life within ourselves. But we must top it up, we must find people to pull us out of our depressions that threaten to take us forever. We must find our humanity more assertively - and aggressively.

I have hope love and travel will happen in my life even at 57. I have always believed and known I'm Peter Pan inside and a handsome and sexy 57 year old on the outside - and the outside's not to damn bad, mates! I'm hopeful of fulfilling dreams so much so that I will need to dream up new dreams. I dream of greater sex then I've had. Better sex and with even a hope in my heart that a great soulmate/lifemate/bedmate IS looking for me as much as I am looking for HIM. I won't give up on that until I give my last gasp. Or personal I'll go giving during great sex. I know a few celebrities and real people in local lie that died while having sex. Eroyl Flynn died in bed with two minor girls - right close by in Vancouver! What a guy!
Sorry about the trauma to the girls - but perhaps they can see - wow what a gift we gave him!

I had sex with a guy in Alaska. Married man. Tuesday he saw me, I came to his bar, we drank, and the CLOSED sign went on. Door locked and I went up stairs with him to have him drop his pants and the BIGGEST anaconda I have ever had the honor to greet met me face to dickhead while I was up to the navel of a giant polar bear, 12 feet high. Stuffed of course.
We then had enough booze in me I took a test drive as a bottom to snake charmer. I do remember it being outrageous! I had never had such pain and pleasure. Never regret it.
8 days later we arrived in the same Alaskan township. I ran to his bar. SIGN on the door.
DUE TO FAMILY ISSUES THE BAR IS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. I went next door to the lady at the Museum. She told me the owner and bartender had died last Tuesday.

What? We had sex for two hours Tuesday afternoon from 5 pm onwards. I walked back to the ship - and he died at 9pm, at home, watching TV with his wife and kids. Well - am I glad I said YES SIR! What a big hairy musclebear. What a gift to give someone on their last day on earth! I am still in awe of that event, I was 18 years old. It only got better for me.

I miss those gone. Old age,heart attacks, HIV/AIDS, Cancer and children -losing children is the single hardest special be-friending ever! Even more then a nephew to suicide.

Family and friends, lovers and acquaintances. I have one secret to share. When I am with someone who is dying - I'm strong and clear and I tell great sex jokes. Everyone wants to hear great jokes especially about sex. It's the proof you respect their dignity that they are still in a body. SHANTI.

I secretly wish each time they go I could go with them to NEVER NEVER LAND. Oh has that taken on a sordid and sad meaning. I meant it in the best way! Innocence. As did Michael Jackson.

It is said that the Buddha said take refuge in me, your spiritual elders and the Dharma - but what few people know is that he also said - LOVE YOURSELVES. LOVE YOU. TAKE REFUGE IN YOURSELF. So the power we have is as big as the power we believe we have.

Mark Twain - A man is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be.

I'm at 290 T4 cells, undetectable technically. 90 - 95% not likely to pass the virus on. And therefore the meds have given me hope to live on. Longer, bigger and better.

I would like friends in my community that were gay men. I have none. All my friends are hours away or oceans away. I have hope one will pop out of the closet and show himself to me to just be a person to do things with, coffee kyack or kvetch. All three ideally.

I have hope. I will always have hope. I have hope that if I help enough people die someone will be there for me. And if they are not there with me - well, I'm not afraid to die alone because I know - I have seen it - I know the feelings of dying intimately - lying body to body in bed with many. I'm a Compassionate Slut, ya know.

thanks

I've been positive since 89 and in 93 I lost who was my 1ST and ONLY partner in my life so far. We are living in Rome at that and we had to separate us, because for him there was whasn't could be done. There was no treatment at that time. I stayed five years living abroad and at 97 I started getting sick and at 98 I was forced to return to Brazil, my country of origin. Unfortunately, people here don't care, they prefer take the risks. And this is why Brazil is among the countries where HIV continues to spread freely. This is so sad, but it's what I have to face every single day.

Thanks

I've been positive since 89 and in 93 I lost who was my 1ST and ONLY partner in my life so far. We are living in Rome at that and we had to separate us, because for him there was whasn't could be done. There was no treatment at that time. I stayed five years living abroad and at 97 I started getting sick and at 98 I was forced to return to Brazil, my country of origin. Unfortunately, people here don't care, they prefer take the risks. And this is why Brazil is among the countries where HIV continues to spread freely. This is so sad, but it's what I have to face every single day.

Thanks

I've been positive since 89 and in 93 I lost who was my 1ST and ONLY partner in my life so far. We are living in Rome at that and we had to separate us, because for him there was whasn't could be done. There was no treatment at that time. I stayed five years living abroad and at 97 I started getting sick and at 98 I was forced to return to Brazil, my country of origin. Unfortunately, people here don't care, they prefer take the risks. And this is why Brazil is among the countries where HIV continues to spread freely. This is so sad, but it's what I have to face every single day.

Thanks

I may be POZ....but I DO have a heart...and it breaks just as easily now, as it did before HIV -
I have the same horror stories, and I have some incredible survival stories....I am not dead....almost a few times.....I am now healthy and plan on staying that way with my Partner who remains NEG, because we exchange NO fluids except kissing - I love you, Roger -

I was diagnosed two months before +. I'm still confused, I want to contact, talk, meet and find people to help me see the life from another perspective.

HIV has been a real pain in the ass! And not a pleasant one! I tested poz almost 28 years ago when I was in my 30s. Now I am 63. I have been expecting to die "sometime soon" for 28 years. I have lost ALL my friends to aids. I wish to heck I could figure out why God still wants me here. I used to go to hiv support groups to show the newly poz guys and a few wimmin that hiv doesn't necessarily kill ya right away. I stopped going after my last session where I was the only white gay man in the room. It started out like a special gay guy club. Many of the support group members used it as a way to hook up sexually with other poz guys. It was when there were very few meds and I always suspected that my "no sex policy" kept me healthier than my f_ck-like-rabbits friends. Who knows? I have been undetectable for many years, despite my terrible schedule of taking pills (20 per day). Lotsa doses get skipped because I frequently have 30 hour days and I take meds when I get up and when I go to bed. I HAVE NEVER BEEN HOSPITALIZED FOR ANYTHING aids RELATED. Some of my health problems are caused by some meds, especiallu lipodystrophy. (protease paunch)

Lotsa things have changed. I am now a barebacker with other undetectable guys. That doesn't happen often because of my low sex drive being 63 and needing viagra because of diabetes. It's a good thing I am a versa-bottom. :-) My profile on all my matchmaking sites tells in advance that I am 28 years poz. Oh, and in the middle of those years I was gay-bashed almost to death. When 4 young men were emptying my pockets of the $2.00 I had, I told them that they had my blood on their hands and they better hurry and get it cleaned off or they would get my aids. Instead of finishing me off (they intended to murder a fag), they panicked and took off tires squeeling to get to a car wash. Telling them I had aids actually saved my life. I have been diagnosed with full aids for 20 years now. Thank God for Medicaid. My meds would cost me $28,000.00 per year if I had to pay for them.