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Author Topic: discolsure dilemma  (Read 2230 times)

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Offline woodshere

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  • ain't no shame in my game
discolsure dilemma
« on: March 19, 2007, 01:29:25 PM »
Yesterday I joined the HIV prevention specialist with the health dept. in presenting a program on HIV/AIDS at the monthly P-FLAG meeting.  He did the facts and figure portion and I told "my story".   My story isn't that interesting or more important than another's, the fact is that the prevention specialist has difficulty finding people to speak who are positive.  Since I have a little diva in me I really enjoy it and am becoming the HIV poster boy of sorts.  I try to stress the importance of getting tested on a regular basis so that if someone becomes infected they are able to take a proactive approach to their health care, unlike me who started with a CD4 count below 200.  I also think that those who are able to "come out" as HIV+ should do so, to let people know that HIV/AIDS is still here and continue to tear down the stigma of being HIV+.

Following the presentation the editor of the local gay paper approached me about publishing my story in their paper.  He said it could be done anonymously or under my name and it could be run with my picture if I like.  Here is my dilemma, while not having a huge readership the gay paper is read by alot of my friends, 99% of which don't know I am positive.  But if I am to be a man of my word there is no way I can publish this anonymously. And if telling "my story" leads people to get tested then it is worth the exposure, I'm just not sure if I am ready.

Lots to think about,
Woods
"Let us give pubicity to HV/AIDS and not hide it..." "One of the things destroying people with AIDS is the stigma we attach to it."   Nelson Mandela

Offline indyguy

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Re: discolsure dilemma
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2007, 01:45:12 PM »
Not that it matters but what do you think your church folks will think?
Meds doing well so far.

Offline bravebuddharich

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Re: discolsure dilemma
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2007, 02:07:16 PM »
All I can tell you is what I would do and I am not you!!

I would use my real name - real friends are going to stick by no matter what!

Whatever you decide, good luck!

Metta,
Rich

Offline woodshere

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Re: discolsure dilemma
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2007, 02:30:22 PM »
Not that it matters but what do you think your church folks will think?

No different than they do now, I would think. If the church as a whole can accept 50 or so gay and lesbians as members that says a lot about their thinking.Those that like/love me will continue, those that don't have another reason to avoid me.

Indy your post just made me realize something. If I believe the people that know, love and support me now will still do that after they find out I am HIV+, what difference does it make who else knows.  So what if I go in a bar and someone knows I'm positive or avoids me because I am positive, I have great friends and family.  Now I am not going to make an announcement Sunday right before the Gloria Patri, but if people know they know.  It's very clear now.

Woods
« Last Edit: March 19, 2007, 02:32:46 PM by woodshere »
"Let us give pubicity to HV/AIDS and not hide it..." "One of the things destroying people with AIDS is the stigma we attach to it."   Nelson Mandela

Offline Gilles

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Re: discolsure dilemma
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2007, 03:47:25 PM »
I would not disclose because your story is going to be helpful for the readers in either way but you disclosing might not go down so well. Whats the point of "testing" your relationship with friends and a reaction from your local community. Sometimes things are better to be left unknown. You have to bear in mind that once the information is published there is no going back and it might be psychologically detrimental if you realise that many will judge you for that reason.

It is only my opinion but if there is no significant need for the disclosure I think you should keep it private because you do not want to be regretting the action you have taken, later in life. Whereas you are never going to regret for not disclosing your identity and there will always be other opportunity if you later wish to do so. 

Good luck either way.

Offline Gilles

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Re: discolsure dilemma
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2007, 03:50:29 PM »

 And if telling "my story" leads people to get tested then it is worth the exposure, I'm just not sure if I am ready.

Lots to think about,
Woods


Your story could equally lead people to get tested whether you reveal your identity or not.

Offline woodshere

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Re: discolsure dilemma
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2007, 04:13:20 PM »
Thanks Scruff for your thoughts.  What you say is why I am having and have had a difficult time with disclosure. 

many will judge you for that reason.
Herein lies the never ending problem.  Why is there a need to judge anyone who is HIV+?  We have a medical virus.  One should not feel shame, because he or she is  positive.  
Your story could equally lead people to get tested whether you reveal your identity or not.
Very true, but why hide. If I had testicular cancer and were to write a story there would be no question about using my name.  So why is this different?  Why can't in 2007 someone say I'm HIV+ and suffer no consequences.

I am not trying to be some hero or something, I just think that I have an opportunity to possibly make a difference.  That is why I will definitely use my name and leaning to also using a picture.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2007, 04:16:20 PM by woodshere »
"Let us give pubicity to HV/AIDS and not hide it..." "One of the things destroying people with AIDS is the stigma we attach to it."   Nelson Mandela

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: discolsure dilemma
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2007, 04:24:12 PM »
woodshere, I think you've thought this through well and/or are doing so, and it's my opinion that you may very well indeed find coming out completely fulfilling and quite liberating.  It seems as though you feel some deeper need for consistency in how you publicly approach the issue and this is how that can be best resolved for you.

Good luck.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline Gilles

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Re: discolsure dilemma
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2007, 04:40:40 PM »
Thanks Scruff for your thoughts.  What you say is why I am having and have had a difficult time with disclosure. 
Herein lies the never ending problem.  Why is there a need to judge anyone who is HIV+?  We have a medical virus.  One should not feel shame, because he or she is  positive.  Very true, but why hide. If I had testicular cancer and were to write a story there would be no question about using my name.  So why is this different?  Why can't in 2007 someone say I'm HIV+ and suffer no consequences.

I am not trying to be some hero or something, I just think that I have an opportunity to possibly make a difference.  That is why I will definitely use my name and leaning to also using a picture.


I completely agree in both of the points you have made. Why shall we be judged and why someone with cancer can openly "wave around" his/her story whereas people with HIV are stigmatised. I have asked myself the same question many times but that's the reality. People with HIV are still being discriminated, treated unfairly and pre-judged. But I do understand where you coming from, I just hope that your friends will take it well and you wouldn't  find yourself asking the same questions to yourself (why am I judged?, Why can't I disclose whereas someone with cancer can?) with a realisation that thats just the way it is.

Offline racingmind

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Re: discolsure dilemma
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2007, 04:44:37 PM »
I wrestle with this dilemma everyday.  My best friend for 25 years does not yet know I am HIV+.  My parents and sibling do not know I'm HIV+.  

Why don't I tell them?

Because I'm petrified....As much as would like to be 100% open and honest about it, I'm afraid of the questions that will be asked as to how I acquired it. I'm full of shame and anger for being stupid and not protecting myself.  In a way, I guess I see not disclosing as a means of protecting myself as well.

I guess I don't feel like coming out all over again.

And, yeah, if it was something else (like cancer) I would not hesitate to talk about it.  Such is the world in which we live... :-\
Tested Negative: 5/06
Tested Positive: 9/06 
9/06: CD4: 442 (28%) VL: +100,000
10/06: CD4: 323 (25%) VL: 243,440
11/06: CD4: 405 (28%) VL: 124,324
12/06: CD4: 450 (29%) VL: 114,600
1/07: CD4: 440 (27%) VL: 75,286
3/07: CD4: 459 (30%) VL: 44,860
5/07: CD4: 353 (24%) VL: 50,852
7/07: CD4: 437 (29%) VL: 39,475
9/07: CD4: 237 (32%) VL: 372,774
10/07: CD4: 324 (27%) VL: 115,454 
Started Atripla: 10/07
11/07: CD4: 524 (?%) VL: Undetectable!
2/08: CD4: 653 (35%) VL: undetectable
5/08: CD4: 822 (40%) VL: undetectable
8/08: CD4: 626 (35%) VL: undetectable
12/08: CD4: 619 (36%) VL: undetectable
3/09: CD4: 802 (38%) VL: undetectable
7/09: CD4: 1027 (43%) VL: not tested
10/09: CD4: 1045 (43%) VL: undetectable

Offline woodshere

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  • ain't no shame in my game
Re: discolsure dilemma
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2007, 04:58:54 PM »
People with HIV are still being discriminated, treated unfairly and pre-judged.
WHY?????  

I think part of it is the history of how we grew to see AIDS.  Even though it has been 25 yrs, it is still a baby and the early images and fear are still with us.  In the beginning all the questions and the death, people didn't know what to do.  And let's face it at the start AIDS only affected the 2nd or even 3rd class citizens.

Now we do know things, but we can't get the beginnings of the crisis out of our minds and some still think it is a gay disease.  That is why I just think there is a need for more people to expose their friends and family to HIV. (let's keep our minds out of the gutter)  I think greater change comes from personal contact with individuals rather than some famous person declaring they are positive.  I am not really trying to change anything other than having my friends seeing me as the same person I was before and every now and then catch themselves thinking "oh yeah he's HIV positive".

MODIFIED to get back to the thread (I think I almost hijacked my own thread)

Is a story more honest and compelling if there is an actual face and name with it? And how would if cause readers of a gay paper to take action?  (I am about to talk myself out of it now)
« Last Edit: March 19, 2007, 05:04:05 PM by woodshere »
"Let us give pubicity to HV/AIDS and not hide it..." "One of the things destroying people with AIDS is the stigma we attach to it."   Nelson Mandela

Offline Moffie65

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Re: discolsure dilemma
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2007, 05:00:39 PM »
Woods,

At times, you and I have come to butt heads here, but I am sure that in person, we would more than understand each other and not have any difficulty understanding each other.  

That being said, I have a huge amount of respect and adoration of you right now.  What you are doing must be done by many on this board.

Stigma is our fault for letting it brew in the consiousness of the society at large, and only when we slay the beast of secrecy are we ever going to feel the empowerment of honesty, and the liberty that it gives us to move on with our lives.

Hate is seeded in ignorance, and only when we come out and claim the power of knowledge about this disease, will the "Hate Monster" be put to rest permanently.

Disclosure gives you the power, and gives each one of us the liberty to live and let live.  I know many here will argue with me and they have for years, but I have to tell you the ones that live the longest with this disease, and those that have the fullest lives; are also the ones that came out of the HIV closet and nailed the damn thing shut.  I also realize that many will argue that it will mean they will loose their jobs, but I argue that the stresses that are produced by living a closeted life will also kill you in the long run.  Come out and get a different job that allows you the freedom to be honest in all you do.

Thanks so very much Woods, for doing what your spirit has guided you to do, and I predict that the light on the other side of disclosure will be a tad bit surprising to you.  Hang on dear one, it's going to be a fast and bumpy ride, but you will be in the driver's seat this time......  ;)

Love,
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline BKNYLivin

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Re: discolsure dilemma
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2007, 05:02:59 PM »
Here is my dilemma, while not having a huge readership the gay paper is read by alot of my friends, 99% of which don't know I am positive.


Woods,
You are probably ready for the disclosure - you seem like quite a brave man. Is that your picture in your avatar? If it is, then you are hardly in the closet about your status. I started visiting this forum before I tested positive, I'm sure a few others have done/do the same.
Real friends will be there for you and things change because of courageous people like you.
Good Luck and Keep up the good work!
Diagnosed 9/18/06
10/13/06 - CD4:449, 33%,  VL:>500,000
11/20/06 - CD4: 392  VL:425,000
02/08/07 - CD4: 361, 16.9% VL:133,000
02/13/07 - Started HAART: Atripla
03/08/07 - CD4:401, 23.8% VL:643
06/05/07 - CD4:614, 33.6% VL:225
09/14/07 - CD4:612, 37%  VL: <50
12/14/07 - CD4:582, 38.5% VL:<50
4/11/08 - CD4: 658, VL: <50
3/5/09 - CD4: 847, 49% VL: <50
7/29/09 - CD4: 965, 50.1% VL: <50
12/28/09 - CD4: 925, 49.2% vl <50
9/16/10 - CD4: 1011 vl: <50

Offline woodshere

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  • ain't no shame in my game
Re: discolsure dilemma
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2007, 05:10:56 PM »
Woods,

At times, you and I have come to butt heads here, but I am sure that in person, we would more than understand each other and not have any difficulty understanding each other.  


NO doubt Moffie..... :) :)!  You have almost brought a tear to my eye (doesn't happen often, quite an accomplishment on your part)  Thank you so very much for your response.  Your entire post said what I feel and think far better than I ever could.

Best to you,
Woods
who for the first time agrees 100% with Moffie..... :)
"Let us give pubicity to HV/AIDS and not hide it..." "One of the things destroying people with AIDS is the stigma we attach to it."   Nelson Mandela

Offline David_CA

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Re: discolsure dilemma
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2007, 05:52:49 PM »
Hi Woods,
I think what you're doing is great.  Why not publish 'your story' anonymously and sort of test the waters of disclosure.  There will be many more opportunities to 'come out' with that story again openly.  To me, if I'm unsure which way to go, I kind of split the difference.  You can always publish again, in another paper, blog, or whatever openly, but you can't retract it.  This might set your mind at ease a bit while still getting the story out.  After all, if you're doing it for yourself, your name is important.  If you're doing it for others, the story is the main attraction; it sounds like you're doing this for others to me.  Good luck with whatever you decide.

David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline bocker3

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Re: discolsure dilemma
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2007, 07:19:37 PM »
Hi Woods,

I may be reading too much into this but, it sounds to me like you have pretty much made up your mind and may be looking for someone to convince you NOT to disclose.

I think Moffie is absolutely right.  The stigma can be cut away (not wiped out) only by more folks coming out.  I think that is why gays are more accepted by society at large today than we were 10-20 years ago.  More people realize that they know gay people and they aren't monsters.

Is disclosure risky -- absolutely.  Is it worth it? -- Collectively, I say YES.  Individually -- you have to make that call.

Now, I have to admit - I haven't told too many folks yet.  Only a few close friends, one uncle and one brother, however, I want to be more open.  My partner is holding me back a bit, as he is concerned about how people will react to us as a couple because we were both negative when we go together 16 yrs ago, and now I'm positive.  We've had many conversations and he knows that I need to be open, but I've promised to give him a little time to work through his (and our) issues before I tell too many more people.  Although, my mother is coming for her annual visit this summer and I think we are both ready to tell her. 

I applaud you for being open and hope that, whatever decision you come to, things work out.

Mike
Atripla - Started 12/05
Reyataz/Norvir - Added 6/06
Labs - Pre-Meds
Sep05 T=350/25% VL98,559
Nov05 288/18%  47,564
Current Labs
May2013 691/31% <20

Offline koi1

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Re: discolsure dilemma
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2007, 07:39:16 PM »
I think that since you do enjoy being the "diva", you will enjoy the added attention this will get you, while doing something positive for your gay community. So why not? You are already coming out to other people in your presentations. I applaud those who have that level of safety to disclose and choose to do so. But I also completely understand those that choose to remain in a closet of sorts because of real consequences that could affect their health and their livelihood because of the nature of their work. I think that more than the "hate monster" the "ignorance monster" will be weakened by your activist endeavors. I really think that there are few people who actually hate people just because they have AIDS as they did in the beginning of the epidemic, but there is still a lot of fear and ignorance on how it is transmitted, and what it means to get it. People are finding out that it is not only the "dirty homosexuals" who are at risk and that it touches many lives regardless of demographics though some groups are more vulnerable than others.

rob
« Last Edit: March 19, 2007, 07:48:36 PM by koi1 »
diagnosed on 11/20/06 viral load 23,000  cd4 97    8%
01/04/07 six weeks after diagnosis vl 53,000 cd4 cd4 70    6%
Began sustiva truvada 01/04/07
newest labs  drawn on 01/15/07  vl 1,100    cd4 119    7%
Drawn 02/10/07
cd4=160 viral load= 131 percentage= 8%
New labs 3/10/07 (two months on sustiva truvada
cd4 count 292  percentage 14 viral load undetectable

 


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