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Foster
Member

Reged: 11/06/04
Posts: 43
Loc: Denver, CO
Emotions of a Positive Man
      #139184 - 03/24/05 12:01 AM

In August-September 1994, I met an older guy named Ron that I really liked. We hit it off right away, we enjoyed going up to Blackhawk and Central City to gamble, and eating great food and drinks at nice restaurants. We became great friends and lovers almost immediately. I lost Ron in August 2001 to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. I still grieve Ron's death to this day because I didn’t truly understand how I really felt about him.
Two years after Ron died, I was forced to move into an apartment in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. It was an apartment building built in the early twentieth century. The apartment was cozy and comfortable.
Shortly after moving, in October 2003 I lost my job at RadioShack. Luckily I had some savings and a 401(k) retirement fund to pay rent, bills, and buy food. I diligently looked for a job, but no luck finding work. This may be in part due to my past indiscretions with the law. Without a job and everything looking hopeless, I became anti-social and didn’t want to leave my apartment. I would talk with people in online gay chat rooms mainly looking for casual sex partners. I did find many sex partners online. The only thing I wanted was sex, and I didn’t care about anything else. I had become pretty much a recluse in my own apartment. All I did was watch TV and chat online, escaping into my own little world. If I heard about a job opportunity I would check it out and apply for the job. This went on for months and months.
March 2004, I decided to go to the Denver Health Sexually Transmitted Diseases Clinic to be tested for all Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s) since I was in a high-risk group for any and all STD’s, being a gay man. Like most medical offices, I had to wait to be seen and tested. I had to sign consent forms for the STD tests. The Registered Nurse/Counselor talked with me about my sexual habits and partners. She then drew blood samples as well as swab samples from my mouth, penis and anus. She took the specimens to the lab. She returned and sternly and seriously cautioned me about having unprotected sex, especially at bathhouses. She talked about how I should use a condom for any sexual activity. I was barely listening to her throwing caution and my health to the wind. She left and came back with the test results for HIV. I was negative and so relieved. I was most concerned about getting HIV. About a week later I called and got the Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia tests back, all negative, which made me feel invulnerable to any and all STD’s.
In June 2004, I decided I wanted to escape the world totally. I was in a severe depression, felt that no one cared about me or would even miss me. I had been spiraling downward for the past eight months or so. I was sad, angry, upset about being jobless and almost broke. I decided that I would again have sex with a guy that I met online who was HIV positive; it would be the third time we had sex together. I figured that HIV would be a way out; I wanted to commit suicide but didn’t have the courage or strength to do it myself.
About two to three weeks after the sex with the HIV positive man, I became very ill, with flu-like symptoms, which lasted two weeks, and included: headache, sinus problems, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, fatigue, and night sweats. I finally went to the Denver Health Adult Clinic and had them check me out. The physician’s assistant thought it was just a case of strep throat. I told him about my sexual activity because I figured I was infected with HIV. He ordered a couple of tests and drew blood and specimens from me. Also he prescribed antibiotics. About a week later I went back for the results: all negative. In a way I was somewhat relieved, but surprised, that I was STD free.
In August 2004, I sold my motorcycle to cover rent and bills for August and September 2004. This was a hard thing for me to do; now I was relegated to public transportation. I ignored many of my friends and acquaintances, and continued to be a recluse in my apartment. I didn’t care about myself, my poodle, or even if the apartment was clean most of the time. I slept odd hours, and watched TV when I was awake.
Oct 2004, finally the money ran out, and I had to leave my way of life and my stuff behind because I had no place to keep or store it. I had become a homeless man. Monday, Oct 18, 2004, I had nothing better to do, so I decided to go to the Denver Health STD Clinic and get tested for any STD’s. I had to wait in the waiting room for about one hour, which was making me nervous and anxious at the time. The Registered Nurse/Counselor finally called me for my tests. I was led into an examination room. She sat behind the desk, and I was sitting next to the desk facing her for most of the time. I consented to the tests and answered nosy questions about my sexual habits and partners. She drew my blood and other specimens and left to take them to the lab. Her leaving the room allowed me to become extremely anxious and nervous. I was hoping I was still negative, even though I had an idea I would be HIV positive. She returned and concernedly asked me why I continued to have unsafe anal sex. I said, “Because I enjoy the feeling of a man inside me without the use of a condom.”
She sternly said, “You keep that up and you will end up with HIV or another STD.” I, being concerned about my health, agreed that unsafe sex was not in my best interest. She asked “You do know how use a condom correctly?” She said “You need to ask them to use a condom when they enter you, unless you know for sure they are STD or infection free.” She left the room for a few minutes. She came back and we continued talking about safe sex practices. She then asked, “What would you say if I said you were HIV positive?”
I muttered something like “huh,” “what” or the like.
She said, “You are HIV positive.” Quickly I became silent and my heart skipped a beat or two. I became shocked, angry, upset, and started crying with tears rolling down my cheeks. I believe she let me cry until I was calmed down, which took about five minutes or so.
She stated I should see or need to see a couple of people, one from Denver Health, and another from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. I saw Ray with Denver Health. He explained that HIV is not as bad as it seems; it is no longer a death sentence. He referred me to the Denver Health HIV/AIDS Clinic and Colorado AIDS Project, for resources that are available to me. After I talked with Ray, I talked with Drew with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. She helped me get a bed at a homeless shelter, since my health and welfare were very much at risk.
Becoming HIV positive was the end of a downward spiral that started with Ron's death in 2001. Knowing that I am HIV positive is very emotionally hard on me. I realized that I made a big mistake in June 2004 that I will have to live with for the rest of my life. Being HIV positive has changed the way I do things. In the past, I was more passive; I would let things just happen when they happened or let things just slide. Now I am more proactive in the way I do things. I take control of things I can, and don’t worry about the things that I can’t control. I feel that I finally have a purpose in life. Right now that purpose is to get my Associates of Science and Arts Degrees at Community College of Denver.




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Jessie
Regular

Reged: 06/15/04
Posts: 395
Re: Emotions of a Positive Man new
      #139199 - 03/24/05 12:26 PM

Hi Foster,

Was wondering where you had been....Glad to see that you are still around, working towards your goals and setting aside that time and energy on YOU!!!!! Thank you for sharing your story for all to see...I am sure that was really hard for you to do BUT it shows how brave you are and how far you have come in such a short amount of time...We all make mistakes Foster....and then we evewntually move on from them and learn mpre about ourselves.

Sounds like that has happened for you...you are FINALLY learning all the things about yourself in a positive manner and that is GREAT!!!!! I know the feeling of being told that you are"HIV+"...it is devastating, heart breaking and almost unbearable when we are all first told....you have been able to use your illness to improve your life and make things happen for yourself....you are a true inspiration and I for one LOVE you and CARE about you as well....you will never be alone Foster....ty again and I am always here for you~Jessie~

HIV+ since 2-3-04
"While there is breath, there is hope".

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Foster
Member

Reged: 11/06/04
Posts: 43
Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Emotions of a Positive Man new
      #139390 - 03/30/05 02:14 AM

It lost the formatting I had in it

It is an essay I wrote for my english class. I received 50 out of 50 on it. Perfect paper


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Jessie
Regular

Reged: 06/15/04
Posts: 395
Re: Emotions of a Positive Man new
      #139408 - 03/30/05 11:41 AM

I believe it foster...I twas wonderful and you should be so PROUD of all you have been through and have accomplished...you are a very special person indeed my friend....much love...~Jessie~...=)

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Emotions of a Positive Man new
      #159803 - 09/09/05 09:02 PM

All natural to build the immune system www.myviaoffice.com/auroramt25

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