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poztrainer
Newbie

Reged: 01/13/05
Posts: 9
Being a straight man in the world of HIV
      #132919 - 01/13/05 06:51 PM

This is my first post in here. I live my life as if I'm not infected, and try to be just like everybody else that I see walking down the street, having fun, and enjoying life. I'm fairly accomplished, and have made some of my greatest accomplishments since finding out my status 6 years ago. I've had opportunities to have relationships (I actually even had somewhat of one for a few months this past summer), have celebrated my 1-year anniversary of being clean and sober and recently even became a certified personal trainer. Like I said, I think that I've done ok with this, all things considered.
I made an appointment for a consultation about Sculptra injections last week. Having the virus all came flooding back again. It was an acknowledgement that I am living with this, and I realized that my entire life is a diversion. I'm doing everything I can to keep my mind off of what I am living with. It's not so much having and living with the virus, as the ignorance that comes with it. I remember sitting on a board with some other positive men and women, and one of the men commented that when he tells somebody that he is gay, they automatically think that he has AIDS. I replied "that's interesting, because when I tell somebody that I'm HIV+, they automatically think that I'm gay". Living with HIV not only challenges how I fit in with society, but challenges my very sexuality. And it's not just when I talk to straight men and women, when gay men hear me talk about being positive, they just assume that I'm gay also.
In a world where I whole heartedly understand that each demographic society has to fight to be recognized as human beings, regardless of their sexual preferences...
I find that in a world living in ignorance, to the cause and effects of HIV and AIDS on the very soul of the people living with it...that I need to fight to be recognized as a straight man, who just happens to be HIV+


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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Being a straight man in the world of HIV new
      #132924 - 01/13/05 11:38 PM

I think you have a great attitude, considering all the negativity that can be associated with being HIV+ and I congratulate you on that. However, I think we should rethink one of your comments.

You said, "I find that in a world living in ignorance, to the cause and effects of HIV and AIDS on the very soul of the people living with it...that I need to fight to be recognized as a straight man, who just happens to be HIV+."

While I can understand and agree with that view, a better one for ALL of us would be that we need to fight to be recognized as an INDIVIDUAL who happens to be HIV+.

Best of luck on your journey through life! :)

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poztrainer
Newbie

Reged: 01/13/05
Posts: 9
Re: Being a straight man in the world of HIV new
      #132926 - 01/14/05 06:28 AM

"Better" way of looking at it...Thank You. I think that I've simply had so many different instances where the above mentioned have occured, that I get to the point that I simply want to say "F--- Off!"
I believe that each demographic has to deal with different micro issues within the realm of living with the virus. I certainy would not be able to understand what it is like to be a woman living with HIV/AIDS, physically or emotionally. Each of us has our own feelings and issues that we deal with, associated with going on with our lives after diagnosis. In saying that, each is entitled to knowing that these feelings are valid for them. While some may find this inappropriate, or politically incorrect on a board that may have a higher percentage of one demograph vs another...I do have issue with the fact that the vast majority will automatically assume that I contracted this virus from having sex with another man.
I guess that this is a feeling that would not be completely understood by anybody other than another straight man living with HIV/AIDS. My feelings are real. My feelings are valid...for me.
This is an issue that has been mainly associated with the gay community for decades now. Within that community, groups have been formed successfully to help affected indivisuals to better cope with the issues associated with living with HIV/AIDS. These groups do not carry over well to the straight community, because of the conflict between straight/gay men. Personally, I would attend any support group available. In trying to form an OPEN group for anybody needing someplace to talk about their feelings, I've been shot down by one side of this positve community because they feel that they do not need ANOTHER SUPPORT GROUP. Hmmm...how nice it must be to have more than one group to attend, where one can speak openly of their feelings...
I'm sorry if anybody finds any of this offensive...but I am not prejudice toward anybody. This virus has moved into a community that has no idea how to deal with the feelings associated with it. The proven methods of support from one community are not carrying over, and in most cases aren't even being attempted in another. This leaves a large number of people...men and women, scratching their heads saying "how do I get through this?"

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Jessie
Guardian

Reged: 06/15/04
Posts: 395
Re: REPLY TO POZTRAINER new
      #132931 - 01/14/05 11:16 AM

I am female, 35 with a diagnosis of HIV. I was diagnosid last feb...I too have the same feelings that you do only difference is that i am a woman...I do not feel that there are enough support groups for people living with HIV or Aids that are straight.

My brother happens to be gay and I too have nothing against the gay community BUT I do feel as well that there is much more support within the gay communities. I dont think that it is recognized as much that women do get HIV from men and I dont think that their voices are heard enough on this subject...My feelings are real as well and they should be heard, in a group of supportive people in the same situations...

I am at the point where I am scratching my head saying"HOW DO I GET THROUGH THIS?"...Thanks for your post and I hope you get more responses as to what can be done to help this ongoing , growing situation.....~Jessie~

HIV+ since 2-3-04
"While there is breath, there is hope".
"HIV is what I have, not who I am".

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: REPLY TO POZTRAINER new
      #132943 - 01/14/05 10:24 PM

I hope you didn't think I was trying to diminish what you were saying - I agree 100%. I guess I was being 'idealisitic'. :)

We all have our own journey in life and we are the only ones who can completely understand our own individual path. My path took me to a small town in the midwest where the only 'support' I have is myself and a few online firends.

I hope you can hang in there and keep trying on your support group!

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consty
Member

Reged: 10/05/04
Posts: 17
Re: REPLY TO POZTRAINER new
      #132948 - 01/15/05 06:14 AM

i am a 26 year old female who has been pos for 5 years now. i am an african living in africa and its really not easy here and its really not easy over here
i have learned to apprecite my self as a person and take pride in the way i follow up the rules and regulations in healthy leaving. on a whole i appreciate the fact that i am alive and think if every other person pos or not could follow these rules and regulations hospitals may go out of business

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poztrainer
Newbie

Reged: 01/13/05
Posts: 9
Re: REPLY TO Anonymous new
      #132955 - 01/15/05 08:08 AM

Nope, you didn't diminish anything at all. I'm basically venting. I feel that I am blessed with all I have in my life, and thank GOD for giving me the opportunities that I do have.
The support that the straight community has received in comparison to the gay community, is absurd. But before somebody jumps in and blast me, let me clarify that statement...As I stated above, the gay community has been dealing with this issue for decades. The programs that have been developed did not pop up over night...it was probably years before anything was ever done. I have the highest respect for everything that has learned through those experiences, and the highest regard for those indivisuals who helped to make that all possible. This is the sticking point though...The local AIDS resourse centers are absolutely lost in regards to how to help the straight community and a large part of the gay community as well. Any support groups that do exist are held during the daytime hours. A much larger percentage of the HIV/AIDS affected community has decided to go on with their lives, and have jobs and careers that they manage to enable them to do so. However, no night time groups exist. Let's add insult to injury here...the daytime groups that do exist, are formatted for the gay community. Though I do understand that there may now be a womens group in place as well. When I asked why they had only a gay mens group, the response was..."We had began an open mens group a few months ago. In the beginning there were about 10-12 men who attended. Most of them were gay, but there were a couple of straight men who did come. After a few weeks, the few straight men that were attending stopped coming. That group eventually dissolved out of apparent lack of interest. Now we will be starting a gay mens group. Based on the fact that there are apparenty no straight men that are interested in attending a support group, we see no point in having one. The gay mens groups that we do start, always attract at least enough from the community to make them viable"
NO SHIT!!!...the straight men that did show up cannot relate to stories of hanging out in the local book stores. They can't relate to the multitude of different sexual concerns that are brought to the table by the gay men of the group. They don't feel comfortable because they are in an enviroment that re-enforces the fact that they are afflicted with a virus that is prodominantly viewed by society as a "gay mans disease". But the directors at these resource centers don't get it. How can you work with this stuff day after day after day, and have no F'n idea how to go about putting together a functional support group base? What the hell do these people do all day? And these are the PROFESSIONALS in their fields!!! Holy crap is that scarey!!! Where did they get their degrees in social work...out of a gumball machine? They're absolutely clueless!!!
To get something going for everybody...I understand that it is probably ME that is going to have to do this. I don't have a problem with that, though while I do work a full time job, my energy is low by the end of the day. I have brought this up at the local clinics, but they are somewhat stuck on the fact that they need to facillitate the group. No they don't...If you're not positive yourself, how the hell are you going to understand what it feels like to be positve. We don't need somebody that does not fully understand down to the most minute microcosm what it feels like to be living with this, trying to tell us how to run our groups. What is needed is a non facillitated, peer driven, open group...EVERYBODY WELCOME. Man, woman, child, gay, straight, whatever... The group would develop into whatever is needed out of this, to support the different peoples needs, including seperate groups if necessary.
I'm just beside myself that nobody else seems to see this...
OK, I'm down off of my soap box. I'm sure that different people in my area of the country are going to read this, and will most likely recognise who I am. I hope they do...because I know that if I feel this way, then there are others that feel the same way. We need to start a group with the above details in place, and leave the doors open until somebody else shows up. Even if that takes months. If one other person shows, then there are two, and eventually there will be 3 and 4 and 5 people that come. It's just like that movie Field of Dreams, if we build it, they will come. I didn't start this thread because I wanted to talk about support groups. I started it because I was going to be starting my Sculptra treatments, and when I looked around me...there was nobody there that I could talk too about how I was feeling about this. Now, after going for my first session yesterday, while I'm excite about where my life is going...there is still nobody else around me that understands what it feels like to have to be making these types of decisions, and take these types of steps, to try and have some normalcy in my life again.
So this has become my place to reach out to others...
Thank you so much for being there...

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poztrainer
Newbie

Reged: 01/13/05
Posts: 9
Re: Being a straight man in the world of HIV new
      #132994 - 01/17/05 05:47 AM

I'm going to throw this in the mix just so that I don't come across as somebody that just wants to point his or her finger at everybody else.
As far as I know, and I could be wrong on this...there are no HIV+ men from the hetero community working within the local resource centers. I can't comment on the female side of this because this is not an area that I have explored as thoroughly. If I were given an opportunity to serve the community, both gay and hetero, I would willingly take on the challenge. The unfortunate truth is that I have a fulltime position that already consumes more than 11 hours of my day. Coupled with the fact that I believe that I may need some type of background in social work, which I don't have. Though...perhaps being HIV+ trumps the degree in social work? I may begin making some calls on this. I always believe in "putting your money where your mouth is" for lack of a better term.
On another note, for anybody that may be contemplating Sculptra injections...if you have the means, DO IT. After my first session on Friday, (my insurance is picking up the bill) I've felt better about myself than I have since late 2000 when the facial wasting began.
I found myself walking back into the bathroom all night long on Friday, to look in the mirror at a face I had forgotten. Each time I woke during the night, I looked again to make sure that it wasn't a dream. While the puffiness from the fluids is subsiding, and my face is beginning to look more like it did prior to Friday’s sessions, I know that this will be only temporary. Soon, I will see the person that I remember myself as again. I wouldn't say that sitting through a session is something to look forward too if you have some free time on a beautiful Sunday afternoon...But it is worth it.
Everybody be well...


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Michael in GA
Unregistered

Re: Being a straight man in the world of HIV new
      #133088 - 01/19/05 10:48 PM

Your note sounds exactly like my life. I am a striaght man living with HIV. I attract women often and begin to have a relationship and then stop because I do not want to freak them out. I have told some that I have HIV, and then we become "friends". I am extremely lonely. I really want someone in my life, but so far it an't happening.

Any additional feedback is most appreciated.

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poztrainer
Newbie

Reged: 01/13/05
Posts: 9
Re: Response to Michael in GA new
      #133108 - 01/20/05 05:34 AM

Michael, hang in there. I'm mildly amused when I read in some other areas that affected individuals are concerned because they have not had a sexual partner for almost a year. I didn't have one by choice, for more than five and a half years, and when it did happen, I realized that the woman was not somebody I saw myself being with for any period of time. Go figure.
I understand loneliness, but I think that on some level this has been replaced with spirituality. Some may find that odd, but if there were anything that I could do to change my status, I would. Since I can not, I have made the choice to do whatever necessary to change how I deal with the feelings associated with that status. Believing that everything is going to be ok helps. My biggest concern at this point, is that there are other straight men out there that have no place to discuss the options of moving on with their lives, in a monogamous relationship with a woman. IE: How do we approach the situation...The best way to disclose...Safe sex practices...How to deal with the rejection after disclosure...Concerns of living in a relationship with a neg woman...please feel free to add the multitude of others that I'm missing here. Personally, I just can't find myself relating well in a room or open forum where the main topic of discussion is "how to protect oneself in the midst of a bareback party".
Please note...that we should probably be discussing this in the Straight Men’s Thread of this Bulletin Board instead of this General Thread. *Smacks self in head*...Sorry...I forgot, there isn't one. Not for nothing, but how's that make ya feel?
Hang in there dude...we'll be ok. Thanks for chiming in on the thread. Nothing will change for us if it continues to appear that infected straight men don't exist.


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So_Blessed
Newbie

Reged: 01/21/05
Posts: 1
Re: Being a straight man in the world of HIV new
      #133420 - 01/24/05 02:24 AM

My paranoia is of the different sort. Only my close friends and 3 relatives are aware of my illness. So I can only imagine that coworkers and relatives think that I don't like men. Because I'm repeatedly questioned about who am I seeing, why am I not dating, when will I get married, etc. I feel challenged period sexually because I feel like this disease itself challenges my idea of a great relationship. But on a lighter note, good to hear about you being a certified personal trainer. If I ever getting the air in this balance ball, I may get started on my exercise regime.


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poztrainer
Newbie

Reged: 01/13/05
Posts: 9
Re: Reply to So_Blessed new
      #133441 - 01/24/05 10:38 AM

If you do ever some air in your stability ball, and would like a routine outside of the less than adequate videos they usually include with them...I'd be happy to fire off some really neat stuff that you can do with that ball. The only thing would be that I'd have to send any information thru email...but the offer is there.
Actually, I'll put that offer out to anybody that is interested in some exercise instruction. Even if you'd just like a referral to some material pertinent to your specific goals.
Whatever I can do to help...


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Jill
Unregistered

Re: Being a straight man in the world of HIV new
      #133937 - 02/02/05 11:07 PM

Thank you for your post. I am also living my life as if I were not positive. I am in excellent physical shape and exercise regularly. I will have children to raise before my days are over. To hear about you being a trainer is exciting to me because the thought of an HIV + man being such contradicts what society perceives as realistic for a person with this ailment.
Would you like to email?
Queen_jill1@yahoo.com - - good night, god bless


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poztrainer
Newbie

Reged: 01/13/05
Posts: 9
Re: Response to Jill new
      #133949 - 02/03/05 06:59 AM

I would love to make a commercial showing people from all walks of life, doing wonderful things for family and community. The type where you get teary eyed just watching these people being so giving and unselfish of their time, to help another less fortunate. Then at the bottom of the screen showing something along the lines of "Diagnosed HIV+ _____________ " showing their date.
I know that this might not be realistic because of the way the virus is perceived, but I think that it would be a real eye opener to the public.
I'll catch up when I'm not running out the door to work. Thank you for your response.

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Being a straight man in the world of HIV new
      #134273 - 02/10/05 09:53 AM

I so agree with you. I am a positive woman and ahve been alone since 1993. It sometimes jsut isn't worth the pain and hurt to tell someone that I'm HIV and then have them walk away. All I want is to be loved and respected. I live in a world that has forced me into shame and fear.

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