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HIV Life >> Gay Men

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gtownboy
Unregistered

My experience being diagnosed
      #202356 - 08/02/06 06:08 PM

I haven't been able to talk to anyone about this experience or what I have been feeling inside about learning I am HIV positive. Reading peoples' experiences on this website have benn a big comfort to me.

I was diagnosed with HIV on July 14, 2006. I am 38 years old. About 2 weeks before this I noticed that I was having trouble breathing which progressively got worse. Unfortunately I have never chosen a permanent doctor so I made an appointment with my parents MD's office. The doctor performed several tests and referred me on to a pulminary specialist. After looking at my x-rays, the specialist suspected I had PCP Pneumonia and that this could be related to HIV infection. He then went on to explain that this could be contracted through unprotected sex, including homosexual sex which he emphasized. Suspecting that he already assumed this about me, I told him that I was a gay man. He then asked me how long I had been gay. This question struck me as odd and I answered, "My entire life." What I think he meant to ask me was how long I had been active sexually because his next question was ,"When did you have your first homosexual encounter?" I answered 16. He shook and lowered his head. Regardless of his actions, which I felt were insensitive, I was feeling so ill that all I wanted was someone to help me.

The specialist scheduled a bronchoscopy to be performed on me the next day and also ordered immediate blood work to determine if I was HIV positive. I entered the hospital the following day. Just as they were putting me under to stick the probe up my nose that would take a sampling from my lungs, the specialist placed his hand on my shoulder and told me that the result had come back poistive, it was HIV. A minute later I was out cold.

When I awoke, they wanted to send me right home. However, my temperature rose quickly and they decided to keep me for the night. I ended up staying five days in the hospiital. They put me in a private room which was nice, but I noticed later in the week that I was the only private room on the floor. Also, some nurses, nurses aides, and one doctor, that dealt with me wore surgical masks and plastic gloves when they came into my room. Others did not. I did not undersand why some wore these and others didn't. I didn't ask. I couldn't help but think while I was lying there about those first people who were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and the isolation and fears from others they must have had to endure. It was a very scary feeling and I felt very sad for what those HIV patients years ago must have gone through. I realize that at least I am fortunate enough to be diagnosed in a time when a great deal is now known about the disease and how it is transmitted.

During this time in the hospital I was referred to an infectious disease specialist who has been treating HIV patients for 20 years. He seems to be very knowledgeable and I appreciate his straightforwardness. He is presently handling my case and I am very satisfied with him. I found out today from his office that my CD4 count was 221, which the doctor says is very good in light of my continuing recovery from the PCP. The doctor is very reassuring, but I can't help but be discouraged when all I have read on-line thus far tells me that a person may be diagnosed with AIDS if their CD4 count falls below 200. 221 isn't that far away.

I'm trying to get a grip on my situation. The doctor has already put me on a daily HIV drug therapy which includes several other medicines to fight the PCP. In the meantime, I'm trying to learn as much as I can about the disease. The only other person that knows is my parnter, who has been very supportive. He has been tested and so far is negative. But I have certain feelings that keep emerging about my situation that I am finding hard to share with him out of fear that I am burdening him too much. That is why I am glad that I am finding resources such as this on-line though which I have some outlet. Thank you.


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Virtuous Woman
Unregistered

Re: My experience being diagnosed new
      #202793 - 08/07/06 08:14 PM

Blessings!

Start smiling and lift up your head! You're still alive, and you have to change your life style. You mentioned that you're first sexual encounter was at 16, if you don't mind me asking were you molested or raped, usually that's what I've heard from other guys and that they never shared it with their parents, it was hush hush. I spoke to a guy about this and I shared with him that GOD still loved him now he doesn't call me, why because the of his partner. I'm a mighty woman of GOD and found out this yr. that I was molested at the age of 4, I'm not 38, I didn't go into the lifestyle of homosexuality, however I was very promiscuous, slept with boys and men from the age of 15-35, diagnosed with HIV, Dec. 1993, have never been sick 8-10 pills a day, and now 1 pill twice a day. You're here for a reason, you've been given another chance, however you have to change your lifestyle sweetie. Yes people can be so cruel especially the hospitals, chances are this facility doesn't have a AIDS ward, and they have to wear gloves and mask, you don't want to receive any thing from them not them being scared about you. I'm sorry that you had to go through that. I know that you don't know me from a hill of beans, but I believe if you repent to GOD and tell him that you are truly sorry, He will save your life, heal you, remember 12 yrs, I never been sick from the virus, GOD will see you through. In the mean time it's time to live and be FREE!!

Be Blessed!!

Virtuous Woman

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ScotCharles
Legend

Reged: 05/06/05
Posts: 924
Loc: Los Angeles
Re: My experience being diagnosed new
      #202828 - 08/08/06 10:12 AM

My friend,

PCP is an AIDS defining condition, so despite your CD4 count you have clinical AIDS. Don't let that diagnosis spook you, you have many years to live. The meds will have side effects that you will have to learn to live with, all of us on these boards have dealt with most of what you will have to go through in the coming years. We can help.

I strongly suggest that you get involved with a support group at your local AIDS service center; you can find a listing of them on this website. You need a group of people around you that understand what you are going through. An AIDS diagnosis generally brings about a grieving process that you have to work through successfully, if you are to find the strength to deal with the challenges that await you.

As for the masks and precautions, get used to it. Your bodily fluids are now a danger to all who are not infected. I have to admit that since PCP is common in the environment and only dangerous to those people with compromised immune systems, that the hospital staff seems to have been overly cautious. Likely, they were trying to protect you from the contagions they carry in their bodies which can easily infect people with compromised immune systems. The infections that people with AIDS get, like CMV, PCP and MAC are commonly found in the environment, you cannot avoid them.

Stay strong, sober, clear headed, and most importantly don't worry; you have a lot of time ahead of you. You now have a serious condition, be a partner in your care with your health care providers. It is vital that you are not a passive participant in your health care; if a med causes you serious problems that don't quickly go away, speak up. There are always alternatives.

Get you health care sorted now. Plan for disability retirement somehow, get a job that offers disability benefits before you need them. Social Security offers very limited benefits and those on public assistance die earlier than those lucky enough to have good, private insurance.

Unfortunately, discrimination against those with AIDS still exists. If it happens, don't let them do it speak out and get help. Your local Aids Service Center can help. Remember that discrimination based on AIDS is a specific finding, that should be no other reason for the discrimination, such as acting out behaviour. However, your employer has to offer you a reasonable accomadation if you claim you are disabled enough not to be able to perform the full functions of your job. You will likely have a lot of doctor's appointments, sick days, and hospital stays in your future. Your employer must under Federal and State laws accomodate you in these regards.

I repeat, do not worry. Worry caues stress and stress weakens your immune system. I have been HIV + for nearly 22 years, AIDS for three of those 22. Take my word for it you have a long and full life ahead of you. Learn to see AIDS as a gift that has made your time on earth a precious commodity, most people never realise this truth until it is too late. Now is the time to make your life count for something, find your life's purpose and fulfill it.

I wish you a safe journey into your future.

Regards,

--------------------
Life is a river.
Carpe diem.

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ScotCharles
Legend

Reged: 05/06/05
Posts: 924
Loc: Los Angeles
Re: My experience being diagnosed new
      #202833 - 08/08/06 10:19 AM

Raped? Why ever would you assume such a thing? Being gay is as normal as being straight, in fact gay people may have an important purpose in the evolution of human beings as we carry genes that predispose us to creativity, see The Selfish Gene. Don't laugh since sexuality is a continuum from exclusively gay to exclusively straight and most fall somewhere in between, a lot of gay people breed children, passing along this predisposition to creativity.

Gracious, I knew I liked men from the first time I saw a Tarzan movie on television when I was six. I have never had one moment of guilt or shame about the way I am, nor should anyone.

--------------------
Life is a river.
Carpe diem.

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Bhammer40
All Star

Reged: 01/17/06
Posts: 78
Loc: Alabama
Re: My experience being diagnosed new
      #203623 - 08/15/06 10:19 PM

Amen ScotCharles! I had boy friends from my innocent childhood years where we even held hands and kissed before I even learned how our culture's cruelly perverts what is natural to us as an abomination. One only needs to look to nature itself to realize that we are not the only creatures on earth with homosexuality. There are hundreds of studies that track homosexuality from birds to mammals. Since G-d is the creator of everything then s(he) created homosexuality and is therefore 100% responsible for this thread of existence that is weaved throughout time.

--------------------
Diagnosed 11/2005
Last Labs Drawn 10/18/2007
Cd4 906; 49%
VL 189
Still No Meds Yet

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jenn
Guardian

Reged: 09/14/05
Posts: 325
Re: My experience being diagnosed new
      #203779 - 08/16/06 09:45 PM

VW,
What does he have to repent to God for? What did he do that was "wrong"? All Christian churchs tell me to repent too. But what am I repenting? Existing?
Also, when you say he needs to change his lifestyle? Do you mean eat healthier and rest or do you mean not have homosexual encounters?
Getting infecting with HIV is not a result of anything that needs to be forgiven from God for. It is just bad luck. Many many people simply have good luck. They do the same things as the people that have bad luck. They just happen to have good luck.
I do believe in God. I think God is very happy with everyone who tries to put more back into the world than s/he takes. God doesn't care one way or the other who you get your companionship with.


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