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HIV Life >> I Just Tested Positive

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espoirnyc
Newbie

Reged: 10/25/09
Posts: 5
Loc: New York, NY
Is there anyone in NYC I can talk to?
      #248162 - 10/25/09 11:21 PM

I tested positive for HIV on August 19th 2009. I'm sure that date will forever be burned into my memory. I remember the counselor closing the door, taking a deep breath and saying "your result is positive." Then I remember feeling like I was falling. I could barely hear the questions he was asking me, much less find a way to sift through the racing thoughts in my mind to coordinate responses. I not only felt like I no longer had any control over my life, I felt like the life I had only lived for 23 years was now over.

In my darkest moment my mind flashed briefly on suicide. Once the ridiculousness of killing myself because I was afraid to die struck me I had to laugh. I then decided I needed to take control.

I hope I'm over the darkest emotional chapter of coming to terms with my virus now. Along with changing my diet and exercising more, I've taken to calling the invaders within "my" virus, all in an effort to remind myself that I can be in control. It was through my own recklessness and irresponsibility that I became infected, but I have found that the only way I can retain some semblance of sanity is by owning the mistakes I've made that gave rise to this situation and moving forward. I'm slowly beginning to accept and, to a certain extent, appreciate the new perspective my diagnosis has given me.

In spite of my efforts to stay positive (no pun intended) I have many moments when I feel like I'm barely holding on to reality. I go to work and am sometimes hardly able to focus on the task at hand. My new obsession is googling "HIV cure" or "HIV breakthrough," every hour in the hopes that some new advance will have emerged since the last time I checked. There are times when I want to burst into tears and scream until I pass out because I feel like I will forever be alone. I've tried spending more time with friends, but I fear being rejected if I told them I was positive. I tell myself that friends I'm keeping a keep a secret from are better than no friends at all.

Telling my family is out of the question right now. I can recall more than one occasion when my mother referred to AIDS as God's punishment for sinful f-gs. (I have not told her I am gay for obvious reasons...)

The point of my post is to reach out to you all - my new community - to see if there is someone in a similar situation (newly diagnosed, scared, and teetering on the brink of insanity) I could talk to. I feel like keeping everything I'm feeling inside is a mistake. I don't think I'm ready to sit down in a big group and talk about this, which is why I'm looking for one on one communication. An e-mail pen-pal or even someone I could talk to / listen to in person would be great. I'd also love to hear from anyone who could offer any advice on coping with the highs and lows I'm feeling.

Thank you all. I hope to one day be able to provide advice to help someone through the trauma of being recently diagnosed, because feeling like you have no one to talk to sucks. There's just no better word to describe it.

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ruralguy
Regular

Reged: 07/08/09
Posts: 27
Re: Is there anyone in NYC I can talk to? new
      #248202 - 10/28/09 09:58 AM

Well, from your post, I'd say you are doing pretty well. Have you found a doc yet, gotten any of the tests, etc? The meds do work but it takes some time to get everything set to get on them.

My emotional crash was severe..late last June. I found out in a routine physical so it was nothing i was expecting. I was just devastated. But this has largely passed by now. I started meds 6 or 7 weeks ago. Already I an 'undetectable' and life is returning to something like normal but it was a bad time.

There is another, more active, set of boards for hiv people on www.aidsmeds.com and I suggest you take a look at that. Many more people use it and you are more likely to find someone in NYC. I am way up in northern NY and I'd be happy to exchange emails or talk sometime but you might want someone closer. MY user name, ruralguy, is the same on the aidsmeds boards.

Hang in there. Your life will be pretty much normal in a few months.

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FLOWERMAN
Newbie

Reged: 06/18/09
Posts: 5
Loc: Rochester, New York, USA
Re: Is there anyone in NYC I can talk to? new
      #248211 - 10/29/09 03:13 PM

I understand the feeling of loneliness you are going through. It was 12 years ago that my partner told me that he was posative. We had just met, I had been knocked off my feet. He was handsome, attentive, a great cook and accepted me for me (I had been married for 20+ years and had 2 children)
We were getting ready to go to dinner and he said before we went we needed to talk.

He started by saying where the door was, and if I got up and walked out he would understand. Then he explained to me he was HIV+ ahd had been for over 12 years. I sat in silence for a few minutes and then asked if it was alright to ask question. He said sure, so I asked if he knew who. He said yes, I asked if he was in treatment, and another yes, and then I asked if he was willing to keep me safe. Again I received another yes.

If I had walked out on him that night, I have no idea where I would be now> I work in HIV/STD education and prevention, my kids and family love him and his family is great to me.

I would encourage you to talk with the people at GMHC, they are a great link to support groups, care, and any other needs you might have. There is a program that they and other HIV related agencies in NYC do called HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP, it deals with the stress around disclosure to family and friends, sex partners, and how to promote safe sex pratices.

If you have any question feel free to contact me here. I get to NYC often to train agencies in different interventions and would be glad to meet and talk over a cup of coffee.

Good Luck, and even if it seems difficult, you are not alone. It sounds like your reactions to the news is very normal. Get into treatment as soon as you can, eat well balanced meals, get plenty of rest, exercise to stay healthy and don't "party" drugs and alcohol are not good for persons who have HIV.

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MrGiftig
Newbie

Reged: 12/04/08
Posts: 7
Loc: Chicago
Re: Is there anyone in NYC I can talk to? new
      #248214 - 10/29/09 03:42 PM

Hello EspoirNYC -- Rest assured, there is "espoir", or hope, for a person in your situation. I found out I was positive two years ago -- some days I still can hardly believe it -- and I have been comforted by all the resources now available to guys like us.
In the first place, there have been enormous gains in medical science over the past 15 years. These discoveries have made it possible for us to live normal lives into the indefinite future, as long as we take care of ourselves and pay close attention to our physical and mental health. I started on anti-retroviral therapy a year ago, and my numbers are all now within the normal range. I am a perfectly healthy man, as long as I continue to take my pills every day.
I also have a good doctor, who's been specializing in HIV care for 25 years, and a local health center that is organized to serve the gay and HIV communities. There are many such resources available to you in NYC.
And finally, don't tell your family and friends if you don't want to. I didn't. Nobody knows about my HIV status except my doctor, the folks at the health clinic, and one or two other old friends who are themselves HIV positive. Besides them, the only other person who knows is my girlfriend, and I met her six months after I found out I was positive. Believe it or not, there are people in this world who will love you for who you are, even knowing you are HIV positive.
in summary, this is a reality that you can not only face head-on, but master. It is very depressing in the beginning, but eventually you get used to the idea. The medications, the doctors, and the support groups will help you understand how to take charge of your own condition.
Good Luck, from Mr G in Chicago

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Tom2002
Newbie

Reged: 10/29/09
Posts: 1
Re: Is there anyone in NYC I can talk to? new
      #248216 - 10/29/09 05:57 PM

Hi, and big hugs to you! Everything you describe is what I went through, and what thousands of others went through upon discovering a positive diagnosis. You are not alone. There is nothing to be ashamed of, and you should be comforted by the fact that there are many effective medications out there. I did not start meds until four years after my diagnosis, and now that I am on meds, it is really not a big deal.

Believe in yourself, do not be afraid to ask questions from professionals, be comfortable with your doctor, and confide in others only when you are ready.

I can tell you everything will eventually fall into place.

Good luck, and feel free to write back to myself or any of the other great positvie people who have written to you so far.

Tom.

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BonkerzTX
Newbie

Reged: 10/22/09
Posts: 1
Loc: Dallas, TX
Re: Is there anyone in NYC I can talk to? new
      #248236 - 10/31/09 11:21 AM

As a 63 year old with 34 years into a long term relationship, I did everything over the years to remain negative. However, I let my guard down this past summer and was exposed to HIV. Roughly 2 months later I was diagnosed positive after being very ill for 3 weeks. The news was devastinging and I became very depressed. The doctors were treating me more for the depression than the HIV. And, just when I was about to come to terms with my diagnosis, I was rushed to the hospital with a perforated colon. The result of some wilder than usual toy play. I was left with a colostomy, which will be reversed in the coming month and a recuperation period of seven weeks. My doctors told me to forget about the HIV for the moment and get past the colostomy surgery and all that I would face in the coming weeks. Well, it has been two months since that day I was rushed to the hospital and during this time I have read a lot about HIV. I finally was able to start treatment a month ago and will get my first follow up on counts next week. The doctor put me on treatment now, not because my counts were bad, which they aren't, but because of my age. There is not a lot of information on HIV med's on senior's out there. So why not go ahead and get the treatment.

Right now I feel good and have a totally different mindset than I did after being diagnosed. I will live out the rest of my life just fine and HIV will not control me. I just take my medication daily and go on. When little things bother me, I just remember I was already starting to get these things due to my age, before HIV and that I should not worry what will bring the end of my life in a few years, but to enjoy it fully for the years I have left.

Continue to read, meet new people who are HIV positive and can offer you insight and live your life. Stop looking over your shoulder for something that will not be there. At this point, I just shy away from buses these days. Seems everybody tells me my chances are better that I will probably get hit by a bus before the HIV gets me.

And finally, my partner, brother, partners family, employer and religious leader have supported me 100% and are there fighting for me and allowed me to get my act together and get beyond the initial depression and come to terms with my HIV status. I did not have the burden of telling my parents as they have passed. However, I would never not tell someone who I feel has a need to know or would want to know out of true friendship and compassion. I firmly believe in my friends knowing, for sometime they may be faced with a situation that requires administering aid to me and they need to know to be cautious for their own well being. Maybe I am paranoid about passing the HIV on to others. If I tell someone and they have a problem, its their problem...not mine.

Going forward I will seek others that I can learn more from on how to live with HIV and be a happy camper again...it will happen as I see it beginning already and it has only been a few months.

Be smart, be happy and be well. Life is Grand !

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DJones
All Star

Reged: 04/02/09
Posts: 84
Loc: Milwaukee Wisconsin
Re: Is there anyone in NYC I can talk to? new
      #248241 - 11/01/09 08:56 PM

Hello
We have all gone through the same feelings. It is not easy. You will survive. If you want to know what it is like on a daily basis since the day I found out I was HIV+ on January 7, 2009, check out my blog link below. I started the blog the day I found out and continue it to this day. I have had many ups and downs along the way. It is a very honest account of what I have gone through since finding out I was HIV and then AIDS. Take care, and write me if you want to talk.
Dave

--------------------
http://daveslifelivingwithhiv.blogspot.com/

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espoirnyc
Newbie

Reged: 10/25/09
Posts: 5
Loc: New York, NY
Re: Is there anyone in NYC I can talk to? new
      #248244 - 11/01/09 09:52 PM

Many thanks to all of you who responded to my post. I'm a bit more hopeful now than I was last week. Hopefully that trend will contine. Though I'm a newbie, I can definitely tell that the greatest source of support for me will be the online poz community.

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espoirnyc
Newbie

Reged: 10/25/09
Posts: 5
Loc: New York, NY
Re: Is there anyone in NYC I can talk to? new
      #248245 - 11/01/09 09:53 PM

Thanks Dave! I'll definitely check out your blog.

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espoirnyc
Newbie

Reged: 10/25/09
Posts: 5
Loc: New York, NY
Re: Is there anyone in NYC I can talk to? new
      #248246 - 11/01/09 09:57 PM

Thanks Tom! Your positivity is encouraging. The meds issue is actually one of my biggest concerns. My doctor says I don't need to start treatment yet (CD4 490 and vl 2700 copies), but I'm worried about all of the side effect horror stories I read on the internet. I guess I'll just cross that hurdle when I get there. Thanks again!

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RandyNnyc
Member

Reged: 11/13/09
Posts: 13
Loc: NY, NY
Re: Is there anyone in NYC I can talk to? new
      #248415 - 11/14/09 08:17 PM

I recently tested positive too...i found out on November 5th. I did not suspect it at all (i guess noone expects to hear the news). I'm still partly in a state of shock/denial i guess, but i did go see a specialist. I get my next blood test results on this coming friday (finding out my viral load level and my t-cell count) and my doctor and I will determine if I should begin treatment now or wait.

I asked for some literature and my doctor gave me a book which i am finding somewhat comforting and I like the way it's written. The book is: The First Year-HIV, 2nd ed. by Brett Grodeck.

I'm experiencing some of the same things others are currently posting and things I've read about what to expect emotionally. I also cannot tell anyone yet--I have not even told my closest friends. I'm not ready to seek out any kind of support group yet either (i guess part of the denial) but would like to find someone to talk to--another newly diagnosed person and/or someone that's been living with HIV for awhile.

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Starboy
Regular

Reged: 12/09/04
Posts: 42
Loc: New York
Re: Is there anyone in NYC I can talk to? new
      #254884 - 03/20/11 04:49 PM

I recommend telling at least one close friend as its too much to keep bottled up. I cried for some time and just knowing someone else I could share that feeling with helped me a lot

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