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Jenni
Regular

Reged: 11/06/05
Posts: 149
Loc: Texas, USA
Well, the cat's out of the bag...
      #193352 - 05/26/06 09:16 PM

I told you guys a while back that I had requested info to get my bf on the path to a Dr. Well, it seems that the info pack that was sent to me never made it. Someone took it out of my mailbox or it was delivered to the wrong address....

Lo and behold, shortly after it was due to arrive rumors start up that my bf has AIDS. I called the ConsortiaCare clinic and they verified that they did mail the info and to the correct address.

The good news, anyone of importance in this town 'know' us, they 'know' me better than to think that I would ever be with someone who is HIV+, and they 'know' my bf better than to ever think that he could have it.

I say good news only because it prevents problems that I've feared all along. But it's not really.... All this has done is confirm my fears, if they KNEW the truth we'd be run out of town.

I hate living like this!!! I have been so depressed these past few weeks (which is why I have been absent from these boards). It was so much easier to lie by omission of the truth than to be questioned and have to flat-out lie to someone's face. This 'burden' has become so much harder to bear.

Now whoever has that information pack on it has PROOF. Solid, absolute, undeniable proof that my bf is HIV+. They haven't told anyone that they have that proof because then there's proof that they've opened my mail. But it's out there. And all it takes is the right person believing them for this to REALLY spread.

I am so scared. We've got a back-up plan to move if the time comes but we really don't want to leave. He's only lived here for 3 years but this is my HOME. I was born here and I have lived 23 of my 25 years in this town. This is my children's home. My oldest daughter is a cheerleader next school year. We have good jobs that we love. Friends, family, comfort and safety that only a small town can provide.

The saddest part of all of this is that it is part of MY family that started all of this, my dad, step-mom, and brother. Now it's spread to a few cousins, aunts and uncles.

I know that some of you will tell me to get over my fears, but you just do not understand this small-town mentality. My fears are NOT irrational and unfounded. There are people in this town other than my bf that are positive also. In the midst of all of this, my friend from work told me that his brother just found out that HE is positive. I know that I'm not alone, but it's still not safe to just live out in the open.

I just want a normal life. A happy family. And we had that... Why does my own family have to do this to us?!?!?!

--------------------
It's you that I live for and for you that I die.
So I'll lay here with you until the final goodbye

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moonstarchild
Regular

Reged: 02/28/06
Posts: 369
Re: Well, the cat's out of the bag... new
      #193357 - 05/26/06 10:47 PM

I don't know what to say. And I don't say that lightly. I am really speechless. I thought that I had some issues right now but my goodness. My heart goes out to you and I pray that things go well with you. At this point all I can say is it is good that you have a back up plan in case things do not go well, but the fact is like you said someoene has proof and all they have to do show it and that is that. Since you do not want to be open about the situation, not that it is anyone's business, you need to be prepared for the worst. As far as family, I can tell you a thing or two about family.(not mine, my hubby's)

--------------------
HIV is a part of me, but it does not define me!!!

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AIDS2HIV
Unregistered

Post deleted by Becky new
      #193358 - 05/26/06 11:21 PM



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Jenni
Regular

Reged: 11/06/05
Posts: 149
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Well, the cat's out of the bag... new
      #193360 - 05/26/06 11:47 PM

It just is not that simple.... This is not just any small town. This is small town Arkansas. There are no black people here!!!! And none are welcome. The same goes for HIV/AIDS. It's not welcome here. No amount of letter writing or holding my head high is going to change that anymore than the girls that go out of town, sleep with black guys and bring mixed babies back to this town to raise and expect them to be accepted in the community...

My point is, these people are SET in their ways. They are racist and ignorant and have no desire to change that. They don't care what current medical knowledge says. When they first heard about AIDS (and here there is no distinction between HIV and AIDS, they're the same thing) it was a 'faggot' disease that kills you and if you're in the same room with someone who has it you'll get it, and for all of them, nothings changed.

Like I said, this is not an irrational fear. People WILL deface your property and they will go as far as physically harming you. People have shotguns in racks hanging in the backglass of their pick-up trucks for Christ's sake! Their REAL names are Bubba.

I am not ignorant and I am not ashamed of my bf. I fear for our lives and the lives of our children (and I don't just mean a matter of life or death, I also mean our lives as we live them).

If people know he's positive, they assume I am too, and then they assume that our children couldn't possibly live in the same home and be negative so our children become outcasts.

I do not want my kids coming home from school crying because someone told them mommy or daddy has AIDS and is going to die. They are not old enough to understand this, but they do comprehend what death is. Like I said, my oldest daughter is a cheerleader, she's in soccer and basketball. That's all gone if people find out.

Moving would be a good thing. In a larger town we wouldn't have to live in fear of people knowing.

And you may ask why we haven't moved already... Well, my 8-y/o daughter can ride her bike around our block and I don't have to worry. I can forget my keys in the ignition of my car and it will still be sitting there when I come out of the store. I can open our windows at night with the screens being our only protection. Guns are used for hunting here, not murder.

I could go on all day... The positive reasons are so many, the MAIN negative is the ignorance.

And as a side note, I hope that no one takes offense to anything I've said in this post. The views in this town are not mine. I was fortunate to have a VERY liberal mother who taught me better. Unfortunately my father is her exact opposite and he had more influence on my brother.

--------------------
It's you that I live for and for you that I die.
So I'll lay here with you until the final goodbye

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eleniel
Regular

Reged: 05/27/06
Posts: 239
Loc: Utah, USA
Re: Well, the cat's out of the bag... new
      #193372 - 05/27/06 03:43 AM

I understand what you are going through, to a degree. I live in a city, and people are more tolerant and educated here than in other places I've been, however, a startlingly large percentage of the population still thinks you can 'catch it' by being in the same room as a person, or holding hands, etc.
I also know how it feels to face the choice of leaving what you know or dealing with the social stigma. I'm facing a similar, though not as urget, situation myself.
My advice is to move: Yes, I understand your reasons for wanting to stay (as you've explained them anyways) however, the stress of the situation can't be good for him or his health. Also, will it be possible for him to receive treatment and such in a town where everyone knows what their neighbors are doing? In a close-knit community, you really can't hide anything for long.
And like I said, the stress can't be good for him (or you for that matter). I don't know everything, but I do know I tend to get sicker when I'm stressed.
Anyways, I hope I helped at least a little.

--------------------
6/29/2010: vl 68,000 cd4: 205

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Well, the cat's out of the bag... new
      #193376 - 05/27/06 06:50 AM

[quote]It just is not that simple.... This is not just any small town. This is small town Arkansas. There are no black people here!!!! And none are welcome. The same goes for HIV/AIDS. It's not welcome here. No amount of letter writing or holding my head high is going to change that anymore than the girls that go out of town, sleep with black guys and bring mixed babies back to this town to raise and expect them to be accepted in the community...

My point is, these people are SET in their ways. They are racist and ignorant and have no desire to change that. They don't care what current medical knowledge says. When they first heard about AIDS (and here there is no distinction between HIV and AIDS, they're the same thing) it was a 'faggot' disease that kills you and if you're in the same room with someone who has it you'll get it, and for all of them, nothings changed.

Like I said, this is not an irrational fear. People WILL deface your property and they will go as far as physically harming you. People have shotguns in racks hanging in the backglass of their pick-up trucks for Christ's sake! Their REAL names are Bubba.

I am not ignorant and I am not ashamed of my bf. I fear for our lives and the lives of our children (and I don't just mean a matter of life or death, I also mean our lives as we live them).

If people know he's positive, they assume I am too, and then they assume that our children couldn't possibly live in the same home and be negative so our children become outcasts.

I do not want my kids coming home from school crying because someone told them mommy or daddy has AIDS and is going to die. They are not old enough to understand this, but they do comprehend what death is. Like I said, my oldest daughter is a cheerleader, she's in soccer and basketball. That's all gone if people find out.

Moving would be a good thing. In a larger town we wouldn't have to live in fear of people knowing.

And you may ask why we haven't moved already... Well, my 8-y/o daughter can ride her bike around our block and I don't have to worry. I can forget my keys in the ignition of my car and it will still be sitting there when I come out of the store. I can open our windows at night with the screens being our only protection. Guns are used for hunting here, not murder.

I could go on all day... The positive reasons are so many, the MAIN negative is the ignorance.

And as a side note, I hope that no one takes offense to anything I've said in this post. The views in this town are not mine. I was fortunate to have a VERY liberal mother who taught me better. Unfortunately my father is her exact opposite and he had more influence on my brother. [/quote]

....and you love this town, don't want to leave it and think it's a great place to raise your kids? Do you really want your kids to be brought up in this type of environment, believing this type of narrow mindedness is normal?

While your daughter is happily riding her bike you are teaching her to lie, to feel ashamed, to hide.

I come from a small town. We have our share of the idiots. We also have a lot of good people here that know I am HIV + and it doesn't bother them.

If my town was like your town, I'd have packed my bags long ago. Living with HIV is hard enough without being forced to lie and lead double lives all the time. Some people you can't enlighten. and it's just not worth it to try.

Just pack up and get out. You'll be much happier and less stressed in the long run.

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AIDS2HIV
Unregistered

Post deleted by Becky new
      #193381 - 05/27/06 07:59 AM



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Jenni
Regular

Reged: 11/06/05
Posts: 149
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Well, the cat's out of the bag... new
      #193396 - 05/27/06 09:45 AM

We're not teaching our children to lie about anything, they don't know his status.

And as far as raising them to be narrow-minded and ignorant, living here doesn't make you that way. I am proof of that. We are raising our children to be open-minded and non-discriminatory.

--------------------
It's you that I live for and for you that I die.
So I'll lay here with you until the final goodbye

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Jenni
Regular

Reged: 11/06/05
Posts: 149
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Well, the cat's out of the bag... new
      #193397 - 05/27/06 09:48 AM

Thank you!

And no, he can't receive medical treatment here. We weren't even tested locally. We drove to a town and hour and a half from here.

It is stressful and I know that it's not good for us, it's just so hard to pack up and leave.

--------------------
It's you that I live for and for you that I die.
So I'll lay here with you until the final goodbye

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Jenni
Regular

Reged: 11/06/05
Posts: 149
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Well, the cat's out of the bag... new
      #193398 - 05/27/06 09:58 AM

I really don't know what else to say...

People have tried in the past to change people here. It just does not happen. I've watched several people who were openly HIV+ move because, as much as they tried, no one was willing to change.

Everything is not black and white. You have to be able to prove discrimination and harrassment to do anything about it. I know. I went to the police about what my father and brother are doing. As much as they sympathized, LEGALLY there is nothing that can be done without hard proof. How do I prove someone took that information packet out of my mailbox? Better yet, I don't even know WHO has it. How would I be able to prove that I was fired because my bf is HIV+ and not just because I have too many absences or they just weren't satisfied with my work (IF I were to get fired when/if this becomes common knowledge)? How do I prove that my daughter was excluded from cheerleading because her daddy has HIV and not because her cartwheels weren't perfect? How do I prove that this person wouldn't rent to us because of my bf's status and not because they don't like the fact that we are not married and are 'living in sin' (and that does happen here)?

We may have good jobs by this town's standards, but we are not rich people. The kind of fighting you're talking about takes more than $7 an hour to accomplish, on top of hte fact that we'll still have bills to pay.

I appreciate everything that you do and I appreciate your advice, but it just is not practical here.

I know that there are good people here that would treat us the same regardless, but it takes more than a few.

--------------------
It's you that I live for and for you that I die.
So I'll lay here with you until the final goodbye

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ScotCharles
Veteran

Reged: 05/06/05
Posts: 924
Loc: Los Angeles
Fight back and sue them blue if you have to new
      #193399 - 05/27/06 10:06 AM

Discriminating against you because you have HIV is a violation of the American With Disabilties Act and violations can carry severe penalties. If you are refused services or housing by anyone, you should call the nearest ACLU office and ask them to take your case. Document every instance of discrimination with journal entries, photographs, eyewitness testimony, and any writing that exhibits discrimination.

See this website for an easy Q&A on your rights http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/pubs/hivqanda.txt

The only way to stop this stupidity is to fight back, you do not have to take this discrimination.

I was denied a lease renewal over fifteen years ago because I disclosed to my landlord I was HIV positive. After a year long government investigation, the involvement of the ACLU, and some local ASOs, I won a lawsuit in court against the insurance company that owned the building I lived in, got a big money damages settlement, the insurance company and the apartment complex had to publicly admit they had discriminated against me and post notices of their discrimination that included their plan of action for never doing that again.

Believe me you do not have to take this. The medical clinic may also be at fault for misdirecting your mail. Sometimes being a bitch is the only thing we have.

Fight for the right,

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

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Jenni
Regular

Reged: 11/06/05
Posts: 149
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Fight back and sue them blue if you have to new
      #193400 - 05/27/06 10:16 AM

<<you should call the nearest ACLU office and ask them to take your case>>

So, they fund the case?

--------------------
It's you that I live for and for you that I die.
So I'll lay here with you until the final goodbye

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ScotCharles
Veteran

Reged: 05/06/05
Posts: 924
Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Fight back and sue them blue if you have to new
      #193402 - 05/27/06 10:24 AM

Depends on the case. Some lawyers will take a good HIV discrimination case on a contingency basis with their fee paid from your award. You will need solid documentation of the discrimination and a good idea of the mental, pysical or financial damage you experienced as a result of the discrimination.

One little word of caution, never threaten anyone with litigation this can damage your case, nor get hostile with them. Keep a little notebook with you and jot down the time, place, persons involved, and any witnesses and don't forget to gather and keep in a safe place any pertinent documentation.

Good luck.

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

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Jenni
Regular

Reged: 11/06/05
Posts: 149
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Fight back and sue them blue if you have to new
      #193404 - 05/27/06 10:37 AM

Thank you! Nothing has happened yet, but I'm a worrier and am anticipating what could happen... I've seen it all many times and know that I'm not immune from it.

The site you provided has been very helpful in answering some questions that I've had. Thank you again!

--------------------
It's you that I live for and for you that I die.
So I'll lay here with you until the final goodbye

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alivehoping
Veteran

Reged: 04/05/06
Posts: 655
Re: Well, the cat's out of the bag... new
      #193405 - 05/27/06 11:10 AM

i lived in a small town for alot of my younger years,and as you say word does get around.the fact that a co workers bro is positive as well should help knowing your not alone,and mabey even push you in a direction of letting others know the perils of this unforgigivin disease,but that doesnt mean all the people around you will be as unforgiving.its in a small town that needs the most to be educated,because the small town mentality is that it wont happen here,well if the info is out there they are just as apt to contact disease as well,but i do understand the peyton place mentality,you will without doubt have a heck of a time,and its shamefull that you have kids that will bear a brunt of jokes and maybe more because of the ignorance of the town itself.as far as the lying i too understand that as i have yet to tell my freinds or family and its been 3 years now,i moved away to a different part of the city to avoid this but the fact still remains im positive,and somtimes i feel the lying is harder to deal with than the truth.hope all goes well for you all

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