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HIV Life >> Living With HIV

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Reged: 08/22/10
Posts: 2
Going back into the HIV closet.
      #251756 - 08/22/10 01:54 AM

I started being more open about my HIV status about a year ago. I thought it would help with my guilt and shame. It hasn't. On the contrary, I feel more isolated and alone than ever. Therefore, I am going back "into the closet" with my HIV. I'll continue to take my meds. I'll continue to keep my doctor appointments. It's just that, once people know you are poz, it's all they can see. If it looks like I'm going to have sex with someone (unlikely), I'll let that person know. But really, if I'm not having sex with someone, there's no need for them to know. If anyone else has gone back into the HIV closet, I would love to hear about their experience. Thanks, Mike

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Reged: 07/14/10
Posts: 8
Re: Going back into the HIV closet. new
      #251760 - 08/22/10 11:10 AM

Hi mike . I thought the same thing . I didnt want to lie or hide things from my family and friends, however i didnt tell all of them. I wish wouldnt have told anyone . i feel more ashamed of telling people and panic somtimes about them telling others . I am not doing well with this i just found out i was pos nov 2009 . its just awfull if u ever need to talk mssg me ..

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Reged: 08/17/10
Posts: 6
Re: Going back into the HIV closet. new
      #251776 - 08/23/10 05:33 PM

I don't think I ever "came out" of the HIV closet. I told my family and my the partners that I had as expected, but that was it. I didn't see a need to tell people unnecessarily. You're right, once they know it's all they see. It makes it more difficult for you to move forward with your life when the people around you are constantly dragging you back. Don't feel guilt about it by any means, but do what ever you need to in order to ensure you are able to LIVE your life to the fullest!

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Reged: 01/20/07
Posts: 1186
Re: Going back into the HIV closet. new
      #251778 - 08/23/10 06:58 PM

I have to agree. I was very open. I spoke to groups about Living with HIV. I did what I could to promote awareness about education and prevention.

I just don't see that it's been worth it and it came with a personal cost. People do treat you different. They gossip and tell others.

And then I read drivel as is being posted on the Am I Infected forums these days and I realize that the fear,bias, prejudice and better than thou attitude is alive and well. Hell they are now talking about how everyone with HIV should be tattoo'd for the world to know.

Yep Underground is the place to be. It was a mistake for me to think otherwise.

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Reged: 02/05/07
Posts: 2
Loc: BC, canada
Re: Going back into the HIV closet. new
      #251792 - 08/24/10 02:10 PM

ya i feel the same. In my case it wasnt me who told ppl I was hiv pos, it was my then boyfriend who had broken up with me and decided to expose my secret. Some ppl believe i have it and others dont. If they ask me I tell them that my ex was being vicious and I'd say "do i look like i have hiv??" or "do i look sick?". Some ppl may think Im a coward, but I live in a very small town with alot of stigma. So I CHOOSE to live in the hiv closet. Yes, I too will always take my meds and go to my appts..and go to "the Body". This website, especially in the early days of my diagnoses, was my savior!! And talking to all you ppl here. Just wanted to say thank you!!!

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Reged: 06/17/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Georgia
Re: Going back into the HIV closet. new
      #251793 - 08/24/10 02:30 PM

Mike, Congrats on trying to come to terms with your disease by attempting to admit to it in public. That's a big step that many people never take.

I do have one question - What's with the guilt and shame? Did your Jewish mother get to you? I understand they're the queens of guilt. (YES! I'm stereotyping. NO. I'm not going to apologize for it.)

You have a disease. Much like many other people in this wide world we exist on have diseases. Your's probably takes more care than just about any other disease, but that's all HIV is. A virus. PLEASE don't listen to the idiots who try to tell us people with HIV are sinners going directly from their deathbed to hell to rot for eternity.

Go back into your closet. You're not ready to be out in the open with this disease. You may never be ready. Absolutely nothing wrong with that! Many people can adjust to living with it for themselves but don't adjust to other people knowing. The next time you think you might want to leave the closet don't allow past experiences to color future trips. Maybe you need to take smaller steps.

Yes, people (both the general population and other HIV+ people) tend to see us for having this disease. It defines us. This is not necessarily a good or bad thing. But, I've found that most people given the chance to get to know me when they find out I have HIV take some time getting used to it. But, because I'm such an effervesent person soon look at me as the kook I am and forget about the disease. You have got to show them something else in you besides the disease.

If you walk into a room and announce to everyone there that you're a redhead then sit down and not speak to people the only thing they're going to think of when they see you is your red hair (assuming it's not blue.) But, if you announce to room that you're a redhead and then go through the room making lively banter with everyone they're going to remember you as the life of the party and probably never look at the fact that you're actually bald. It's all in how you present it and how you hold up yourself afterwards.

And, you're right about people you're not having sex with not needing to know your status. The same way noone needs to know if you have high blood pressure. Or, diabetes. Or, a hangnail. We don't carry big balloons advertising the fact that we have a disease. It's really noone else's business. And, nearly everyone else in the world is so wrapped up in themself that they couldn't care less.

I came out of the HIV closet some years back. Impossible to go back in. There was nothing left when it exploded.

Give yourself time to adjust to having HIV. With proper treatment there's no reason why you shouldn't live for many years. I think you'll find yourself getting tired of being in the HIV closet, and before you know it you'll have clawed your way back out.

Guilt and shame? Guilt and shame? Nope. Honestly can't say that I've ever known either of those emotions when dealing with this disease.... Can you tell? I'm a wallflower!

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Reged: 07/29/09
Posts: 25
Loc: Alabama
Re: Going back into the HIV closet. new
      #251794 - 08/24/10 04:23 PM

Well MIke I did much the same thing meaning outing my self as poz of course and such possibly devistating news was taken in stride by my leather comrades at the time .
But then that was after all in 2003 and no one has mentioned it to this day none the less I know I have it and if there's a possibility of sex to be had I always inform the other person and usualy have a condom in my wallet just in case .
Now once upon a time I had a slip and fall accident at a hotel and one little thing was a big help since I had been knocked unconscious at the time .
And that thing was a Military style dog tag that my husband ( not really just a term of endearment until the day when we can be legally wedded as a couple ) that he had created for me at a local flea market and it simply states " HIV POZ" which in my unconscious state my status might other wise have been known but instead i was given I guess what they thought were the approiate meds kept me over night for observation and released me late the next afternoon after having gotten ahold of my husband to learn that yes I was positavie and to be able to give me the usual maintence meds sicne he had set up my meds for the first couple of months during my bout with adc/ard* so ya see as long as the heart wants what the heart wants there's never a reason to go into hiding thinking that no one loves you cuz no matter how many frogs U have to kiss to find u r prince or even how many rocks U have to turn over he's out there some where looking for you !
* ard is Aids Related Dementia / adc Aids Dementiz Complex as defined by my id dr and nurse practioner respectively

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Reged: 08/22/10
Posts: 2
Re: Going back into the HIV closet. new
      #251807 - 08/25/10 01:18 AM

Thanks, everyone, for the feedback, and for the support. You know, this all came about because of me trying to rid myself of my guilt and shame over contracting this disease. I've been poz since 2002 and I still have not told my family, who lives some distance away. I'm planning a trip back to see them and was planning on telling them, then.

But then, when faced with the question of WHY I was telling them, I could not come up with a single good reason except for the fact that I felt bad about keeping a secret from them for so long.

The fact is, I am healthy. If I stop being healthy, I have the support I need. I have several close friends who know me who I feel pretty confident I can rely on. I am part of an HIV+ men's support group. I don't think I need my family for support. The only thing I'm going to accomplish by disclosing to them is worrying them needlessly. They live in the rural Midwest and I don't want to burden them with worry and anxiety over my health.

You know, the most valuable lesson I'm learning from this is "if you don't want something to be a big deal, don't make it a big deal." I know that my stress level has gone down considerably since I've realized that I have the power whom to disclose to, and when and under what circumstances. It's empowering.


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Reged: 03/08/07
Posts: 342
Re: Going back into the HIV closet. new
      #251882 - 08/29/10 04:49 AM

i myself sometimes feel, abandoned by society in this way. i have only let out my problems to my daughter not long ago. althought shes only 15,and at that age of wonder, i felt it a needed evil, so to speak. and only my wife knows besides all the doctors.
i guess i felt a bit of weight off my shoulders from this, and im glad i did it. were all different, but the way of the world sometimes does make it difficult for me to be comfortable in my own skin, but i feel keeping it all in only adds to your anxiety and stress. i think its not so much of being in a closet, its more of who and when your ready to disclose anything to anyone, thats all about your choices. take care

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