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Outlier: My Unusual Journey With HIV

Marching Toward the Meaning of Pride
June 17, 2010

When people ask me whether I'm "proud" to be gay, the question always makes me a little uncomfortable. Part of my discomfort probably comes from having been raised Roman Catholic, so when someone says the word "pride," the first thing that pops into my mind is an image of one of the stony-faced nuns from my Catholic grammar school, delivering stern warnings about giving in to "the sin of pride." Thus, at an early age, I was taught that pride was a bad thing.

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Raw Emotion: Thoughts on Why Gay Men Bareback
April 27, 2010

Can we talk about "barebacking"? You know, unprotected anal sex between men. Sex without a condom. "Raw" sex. Or, if you prefer the almost comically clinical language of early safer sex education, sex during which "bodily fluids" may be "exchanged."

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A Hundred Indecisions: A Tale of Starting Meds
March 17, 2010

I tend to be somewhat indecisive by nature. When making any kind of important decision, I try my best to gather all of the relevant facts so that the final decision I make will be a well-informed one. I seek to exhaust all avenues of inquiry that may bear on the decision before I make it. As you can imagine, this often leads to a long, drawn-out process in which I will go back and forth several times before making up my mind and settling on what I should do.

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The End of Sex
February 22, 2010

Somehow, about three years ago, my sex life pretty much came to an end. Not by choice, exactly. It wasn't anything I'd planned. In fact, at the time, I didn't even realize it had happened. It wasn't as if I woke up one day and said, "I'm not going to have sex anymore." While in retrospect the end was abrupt, it did not seem so then. After all, you don't know it's your last time until much later, when you can look back and say, "Yeah, that was it. That was the last time I had sex."

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February 3, 2010

I've spent most of my adult life alone. Not literally alone, of course, but single, unattached, unpartnered, unmarried, or whatever you want to call someone who lacks a significant romantic relationship. I'm now a 49-year-old, HIV-positive, gay man with lipodystrophy. Having reached this point, I often wonder what, if any, prospect I have for finding love.

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Control Queen
January 19, 2010

If you've read the title of this blog, you might wonder why I picked a term like "outlier" to describe myself. If you've read one of my prior posts ("Lipo: A Trophy?"), you know that I'm an unusual guy in that I suffer from lipoatrophy despite never having been on antiretrovirals. Obviously, my having lipo kind of upends the conventional medical wisdom that lipoatrophy is a side-effect of antiretroviral therapy. So that part of my HIV experience clearly places me outside of the norm.

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Good Grief, or, What I Wanted to Tell Bonnie
January 6, 2010

I wanted to write a bit about the conversation in which Bonnie, editorial director of, invited me to become a blogger, because our talk is still very much on my mind for reasons having nothing to do with blogging. Oddly enough, a passing comment by Bonnie provoked in me a meditation on how our culture expects us to handle grief. I'll get to all that in a moment. First, a little background about the conversation itself.

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Lipo: A Trophy?
December 17, 2009

This post describes my personal odyssey with the condition known as lipoatrophy. I warn you that the post is long, and I apologize for that. But since my experience is rare, I thought it best to lay it all out in detail. I also think that my story holds a lesson for all medical professionals who deal with HIV, and I'll get to that at the end. I'd also be very interested in hearing from anyone out there who's had a similar experience. Having gotten those preliminary recitals out of the way, here goes:

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New Kid on the Blog
December 9, 2009

Since I'm new here, and this is my first post, I guess I should introduce myself. To that end, let's get some of the basics out of the way right up front. My name's John. I'm 49 years old. I'm a lawyer by profession. I now live in beautiful San Francisco, California, after spending a long time on the east coast. I was diagnosed in 2004, so I've been positive for something like five years.

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Outlier: My Unusual Journey With HIV



My name's John. I'm 49 years old. I'm a lawyer by profession. I now live in beautiful San Francisco, California, after spending a long time on the east coast. I was diagnosed in 2004, so I've been positive for something like five years.

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