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Author Topic: Relieved I'm poz.  (Read 2646 times)

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Offline PozBrian

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Relieved I'm poz.
« on: June 15, 2009, 03:00:53 AM »
This is really the thing I've been struggling with since I found out I was positive in early April.  In the months leading up to that I would worry "what if if get HIV?" I never consciously set out to get bugged, but I wasn't always careful obviously. Being positive, as we know, bring with it a whole host of new worries. Some I had thought of before, others I hadn't.

Now that I've tested positive, every once in a while,  I think "well at least I don't have to worry about getting HIV anymore, I already have it." Not quite like checking something off a to-do list, unless it is a list of things one hopes never happen, and then not do to much to prevent or prepare for. I can't imagine that this is a terribly healthy way of thinking, (maybe its some coping mechanism.)

Has anyone thought this? I'm not even sure that this by itself is a big problem other than it seems to be recurring thought that troubles me.

Brian
3/8 CD4: 495, 31%, VL UD
2/1 CD4: 564, 20%.VL UD, switching to Issentress & truvada
10/11 CD4: 446, 29%, VL UD
7/11 CD4: 873, 35%, VL UD
4/11 CD4: 573, 34% VL 0
12/10 CD4: 405, 30% VL UD
9/10 CD4: 416, 31% VL UD
5/10 CD4: 393, 29% VL: UD
02/10 CD4: 423, 37% VL: UD
11/09 CD4: 379, 25% VL: UNDETECTABLE!!
10/09 CD4: 245, 25% VL: 87
9/09 CD4: 246, 24% VL: 49!
8/09 CD4: 277, 26% VL: 115
7/09 CD4: 346, 24% VL: 221
6/09 started Atripla
5/09 CD4: 326, 16%  VL:125000
4/09 HIV +, CD4: 397, 16%  VL:195000, PPD reactive

tendai

  • Guest
Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2009, 04:50:37 AM »
i have! i do think about it still. i would stress myself out after having protected sex wondering if i caught it. thinking to myself 'its only a matter of time. maybe i'll get it from my husband or something'. When i got diagnosed i was shattered but i cant help but think ' at least that is out of the way i dont have to worry about that'. Im not GLAD i have it, just glad i dont have to go thru worrying about if/when i will get it when i have sex. kinda hard to explain..

Offline bufguy

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2009, 07:47:50 AM »
I feel the same way. I delayed getting tested for years. Every time I felt the least bit ill I thought I was positive. The reason I finally did get tested was to dispel those fears....thinking I was negative.
With some diseaseses I think people put off being tested because of fear of finding out they are sick. With HIV its both that fear AND the stigma and shame attached. Hell I was even afraid to go to the doctor for fear they may find someting and want me to take an HIV test. I actually ended up using a home access test.

In the end I did get tested and luckily as you can see from my numbers I am healthy. Now I see my doctor 3 times a year and every time he tells me how healthy I am.
Being under constant medical supervision puts the onus on me to stay healthy, watch my weight, blood pressure etc.

And I don't have the anxiety thinking I'm poz.....I am.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2009, 07:49:29 AM by bufguy »
5/29/08 confirmed HIV+
6/23/08 Vl 47500  CD4 511/29% CD8 .60
start atripla
8/1/08 Vl 130  CD4 667/31% CD8 .70
9/18/08 Vl un  CD4 not tested
12/19/08 Vl un CD4 723/32% CD8 .80
4/3/09 Vl un CD4 615/36% CD8  .98
8/7/09 vl un CD4 689/35% CD8 .9
12/11/09 vl un CD4 712/38% CD8 .89
4/9/10 vl un CD4 796/39% CD8 1.0
8/20/10 vl un CD4 787/38% CD8 1.0
4/6/10 vl un CD4 865/35% CD8 .9
8/16/10 vl un CD4 924/37% CD8 1.0
12/23/10 vl un CD4 1006/35% CD8 .9
5/2/10 vl un CD4 1040/39% CD8 .9
8/7/13 vl un CD4 840/39% CD8 .9

Offline BT65

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2009, 08:29:40 AM »
I was never relieved after testing +.  Of course, this was back in 1989.  I don't have the anxiety I used to have, but I could well do without it (the virus).
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2009, 09:23:47 AM »
As the treatement evolved over the years, so did my fears and anxieties about getting HIV.  I was always afraid and anxious, but in precise ways that changed.  I am not relieved I'm poz, no way, josé!  But, i guess there are some advantages.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, afterall.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2009, 10:25:07 AM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline David_CA

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2009, 10:59:44 AM »
Now that I've tested positive, every once in a while,  I think "well at least I don't have to worry about getting HIV anymore, I already have it." Not quite like checking something off a to-do list, unless it is a list of things one hopes never happen, and then not do to much to prevent or prepare for. I can't imagine that this is a terribly healthy way of thinking, (maybe its some coping mechanism.)

I don't think there's anything so wrong or unhealthy with thinking this way... after diagnosis that is!  I'd hate to think that people were getting infected just to avoid stressing over getting infected.  After all, as Mecch implied, it's just looking for the 'positive'.  There are certainly a few new stresses in my life, but I'd happily take worrying about being HIV+ and be negative again.  I do know what you mean, though.  I have other worries now, but not so many regarding sex (which is very important to me).  Reduced anxiety sex is more enjoyable sex!
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 Miss Philicia

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2009, 11:09:08 AM »
I don't think this is a particularly uncommon kind of subconscious thought process, more notable in people with higher anxiety levels.  I guess my only concern is that it's the type of anxiety issue that, if it had been dealt with professionally pre-infection, you might not be infected now, if it was indeed something that contributed to risky sexual behavior.

I think this phenomena was entirely largely present in the gay community during the 1980's for obvious reasons.  I'm always surprised that it's still as prevalent as it is for gay men considering everyone knows that treatment for HIV has been more than good now for a decade.  So as opposed to the 80's when such thought processes were born from a more reality based sense of desperation, doing it now is quite different and not based on any sort of reality.  At least that's my take on it, though since I got infected in the 80's I guess I'm biased on the subject.
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline BlueMoon

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2009, 12:45:42 PM »
I've replaced one anxiety with a set of bigger anxieties.  I really preferred things the way they were.
...................VL.....CD4.....%
-----------------------------------------
08/10-- ......<40.....290.....42
05/10-- ......<48.....290.....46
02/10-- ......<48.....481.....44
10/09-- ......<48.....277.....46
07/09-- ......<48.....300.....38
05/09-- ........51.....449.....39
03/09-- Added Isentress
02/09-- ........65.....299.....34
11/08-- ........62.....242.....40
08/08-- ........66.....212.....29
05/08-- ......202.....217.....27
03/08-- ....5210.....187.....21
02/08-- Began Truvada/Reyataz/Norvir
12/07-- 273,000.....157.....22
11/07-- 229,000.....209.....22
10/07-- Diagnosis

It's a complex world.

Offline AlanBama

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2009, 03:48:54 PM »
Some things don't change (the same for us old ones as the new folks):  I remember being relieved to find out I was positive.   It did cut out the 'wondering what if' thing.....

Of course in those days it was a death sentence, so it was a relief to know, but certainly not a relief to learn of your "fate".   Fortunately, some of us survived everything they put us through, and have lived long enough to have somewhat of a normal life.

I am thankful that I didn't give up on myself, my family did not give up on me, and even though my doctor told me to prepare to die, he never stopped trying to do everything in his power to save me.
I will always be grateful to him.

Now Brian, it frees you up to "move on" and live your life.   It's a big adjustment, but it's obviously one that can be dealt with, as you see some of us here have been doing it for a long time. 

hugs, and best wishes --

Alan
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline hotpuppy

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2009, 06:46:58 PM »
I think for me HIV forced me to stop and take inventory of what mattered and what I wanted to spend time on.  For that it has been a force for good.  In some ways, yes I'm relieved no to worry about catching HIV, in other ways now I worry about things more.  I had food poisoning twice before becoming poz.  That made me concerned about food safety.  I'm now food safety paranoid.  If it smells funny, looks funny, or the kitchen isn't clean, I don't eat.  Period.  That's just one example of how I've changed.

I'm significantly more aware of my own health, and that's a good thing.  I also realize how lucky I am to be in the US and have treatment resources.  It bothers me to realize that others aren't so fortunate and there isn't much I can do about it.

It bothers me even more when I hear someone say, "No big deal HIV is a one pill a day thing."  UGH!

So like someone else said, I've exchanged one set of headaches for another.  Someone once said, "The grass may very well be greener on the other side of the fence... is it fertilizer or piss?"  I think that sums it up nicely.

It's easy to look for another destination.  It's harder to look for happiness within.
Don't obsess over the wrong things.  Life isn't about your numbers, it isn't about this forum, it isn't about someone's opinion.  It's about getting out there and enjoying it.   I am a person with HIV - not the other way around.

Offline doubleyousomerset

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2009, 08:05:28 PM »
Gotta say I'd much rather live with the doubt and uncertainty of having this f@(**&ing disease than living with the certainty that I do. Not relieved, nope.

Offline madbrain

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2009, 08:22:29 PM »
Has anyone thought this? I'm not even sure that this by itself is a big problem other than it seems to be recurring thought that troubles me.

No, there was no relief whatsoever from testing positive. It's something I feared, not something I ever wished. It came as a big surprise. After one is positive, life is more difficult, not easier : depression, the need to get followed regularly with CD4 and VL tests, worry for each illness if it's HIV/AIDS related, the eventual need to take expensive HAART meds, the reduction in potential sex partners due to discrimination ... Need I really go on ?

Offline Dale Parker

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2009, 02:37:27 PM »
I agree that there are some advantages to being positive. Although I never wanted to be positive it has given me a new outlook and respect for life.  I came out to my family which was a tragic way of having to formally tell them I was gay. That has made a huge difference in my life.  Now I'm not afraid of being around them as my secret is not a secret any more. While out with my super homophobic brother in law the other day I even commented on a guys perfectly rounded bubble butt.  The look on his face was priceless. I almost wet myself laughing so hard. It felt so good to be the real me.
   The other good thing is that when you are healthy you have the "I'm going to live forever" attitude.  Things that you really want to do seem to get put off.  I now find that I am making firm plans to do things that I have wanted to do for years but just never got around to doing.  I'm sure that if I had of stayed healthy I would have died at a very old age. My relatives have all lived well into their 80's 90's and Gramma was 4 months shy of her 100th when she died. Some things that I really wanted to do may have gone undone.
With the medical breakthroughs in meds I may live into my 90's or longer but I'm not banking on it. I'm taking a healthy attitude that I may be toast in a few years so I better get off my ass and get things done. Things on my to do list are now getting firmly planned on my bucket list.  When I have done all of them I will keep adding to my list.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2009, 02:42:12 PM by Dale Parker »
Apr 09  CD4 21, CD4/CD8 ratio 0 VL 500,000+
July 09 CD4 158, CD4/CD812% VL 750
Oct 09 CD4 157 CD4/CD8 14% VL UD
Feb 10 CD4 197, CD4/CD8 11% VL UD
May 10  CD4 252 CD4/CD8 12% VL UD
Aug 10 CD4 211 VL UD
Nov 10 CD4 272 CD4/CD8 0.138 VL UD

Offline elf

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2009, 06:02:57 PM »
I hate being positive. Not because of the health related issues (my numbers are great),
but because of discrimination and rejection.  :'(

I am not ready to disclose my status. So, I kinda end up disappearing after 3-4 dates...
When a guy is into me and about to fall in love, I run away :(
I'm just not ready yet...to disclose my status because I know who people react: they
would find me a monster and run away too...I don't find gay people tolerant.
Most hiv- gay people are immature and think HIV cannot happen to them.
Most str8 people hate gay people, and all of them hate HIV+ people. :( I guess, it's easy to hate.
I don't like being hated. :(
« Last Edit: June 19, 2009, 06:05:36 PM by elf »
Let's have a Kiki!

Offline alantalbot

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2009, 12:27:43 AM »
Hi Elf - You are 1000% right about most HIV- people thinking that they could never, ever
be HIV+.  I certainly was that way.  A year ago, HIV was the farthest thing from my mind.
I always said to myself, "There's no way I'll ever get it.  I'm too safe and value my body too much."
I also never dated poz guys because I was too damn afraid I'd get it from them.
Actually, it's the ones who say they're neg that ya have to watch out for.  The poz guys
are usually the safest!

But your comments about running away when someone is about to fall in love with you,
does concern me a bit...you could be turning away opportunities that could potentially
be very valuable. 

And you are not hated.  At least not here.   Anyone who says that HIV+ people
got what they deserve is full of sh*t and who cares if they hate you or me or anyone else.

Offline sdguyloveslife

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2009, 01:44:47 AM »
Hi Brian,

I must have read through your post a dozen times...I too have really tossed this idea around in my head too.  I just found out about my poz status at the end of April of this year.  When I think about the stages of grief, I really just want to rush things and get to acceptance already!  But, unfortunately I'm not even sure those stages are coming in the right order for me.  Right now, the only absolute acceptance I know is that I can't go back and change the past, so I'm just trying to navigate the best way forward. 

In a lot of ways for me, I think that "relieved" feeling is my own mind desperately trying to find some acceptance in this, and just be OK with going on in life and living with HIV.  It really does change a lot of things...and I don't know that I'm ever going to feel "good" about it, but I do want to believe that something good will come from this.  I don't know what that is yet, and it may take a while, but I think I can still hope. 

Initially, I was relieved that I no longer had to worry about "getting it" because I already have HIV.  When I think about all of the anxiety I put myself through over the years with each subsequent HIV test, I did sometimes think the worry was unbearable (and that was not based on any rational thinking of risk of exposure, just that mind-game of "what ifs?")...although, if you asked me right now, I still would trade it back. 

I also thought it would make me much more relieved about having casual sex, but what it has done to me instead is heighten the fear of rejection for me - so, to date, I've only been able to have sex with a couple other poz guys - because I'm so afraid of the rejection I'll get from a negative guy.  I've been experiencing some of that already from a guy I started to date just before I found out and I have only felt the distance grow between us.  Admittedly, some of this comes from my own baggage and judgments, but in my experience a lot of HIV negative guys won't have sex with a guy they know is poz - even with a condom!  (That's a rough one for me, probably a whole separate string for another time...)

In some other dilemmas in life, I have found that "practicing gratitude" (what can I be grateful for?) is very healing.  Brian, I'm not saying I'm "grateful" for getting HIV - BUT, I do want to get to a place from which I can look back some day and be grateful for the life that I've lived on this earth - HIV and all. 

--Richard
Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.

Offline joemutt

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2009, 02:03:30 AM »
Hey Brian, I had similarfeelings, in 1997.
Thanks for bringing this up.

Offline dtwpuck

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2009, 08:12:26 AM »
Your reaction is entirely normal.  Human beings like to be sure about things.  Not knowing creates anxiety.  A person cannot ever entirely be sure he/she is negative.  However, being positive is a sure thing, even though it is not exactly pleasant.

You don't have to look far to find other examples in psychology.  The unknown is always more difficult than the known.    It's easier for a person to establish clear rules of behavior in a framework where the boundaries are fixed.  Personalities who are comfortable with uncertainty are quite rare.

Anyway, don't feel that you are in any way abnormal for feeling relieved.     
Floating through the void in the caress of two giant pink lobsters named Esmerelda and Keith.

Offline madbrain

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2009, 06:24:19 PM »
Your reaction is entirely normal.  Human beings like to be sure about things.  Not knowing creates anxiety.  A person cannot ever entirely be sure he/she is negative.  However, being positive is a sure thing, even though it is not exactly pleasant.

You don't have to look far to find other examples in psychology.  The unknown is always more difficult than the known.    It's easier for a person to establish clear rules of behavior in a framework where the boundaries are fixed.  Personalities who are comfortable with uncertainty are quite rare.

Anyway, don't feel that you are in any way abnormal for feeling relieved.     

There is still so much to be discovered about HIV/AIDS, I can't help but feel that there is much more unknown in being positive than in being negative. After I tested positive, I spent literally months doing nothing but read about HIV/AIDS. And I still feel like there is so much unknown. I don't see being positive as any kind of relief at all !

Offline dtwpuck

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2009, 08:46:33 PM »
There is still so much to be discovered about HIV/AIDS, I can't help but feel that there is much more unknown in being positive than in being negative. After I tested positive, I spent literally months doing nothing but read about HIV/AIDS. And I still feel like there is so much unknown. I don't see being positive as any kind of relief at all !


I'd have to agree with you.  However, if a person who normally experiences anxiety over the question "Am I poz?", knowing the answer has the possibility of removing the anxiety.    Most people will replace that anxiety with a new one, like "what meds should I take,,,  etc".    However, there is a significant percentage of human beings who will adapt to a negative certain circumstance easier than an unknown positive one.     For you, I would guess that you never experienced a tremendous amount of anxiety over the same issues as the poster.  And, personally, I used to share your point of view.    (I find that I have stopped worrying about how or when I will die, or under what circumstances, or how my health will fare or who knows etc... I don't know exactly when I stopped caring, but I have.. anyway, I digress).     I guess my point isn't to say that being poz is super terrific or something.  I am saying that there are many personality types who gravitate toward what they perceive to be certainties, even when they are unpleasant.
Floating through the void in the caress of two giant pink lobsters named Esmerelda and Keith.

Offline PozBrian

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Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2009, 11:00:25 PM »
   Thanks for all the replies everyone. I hope the thread keeps going. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who thought this. I guess it's part of my own struggle at acceptance. A couple minor clarifications, first I'm not even sure "relieved" is the right word, just the best one I could come up with. Second, if given the choice of being positive or negative I'd choose to be negative of course.

   It has been just over two months and it stills seems a bit unreal to me sometimes. Part of the reason I chose the user name I did was because I wanted it to be right there in front of me.  A virtual dope slap as it were. I started atripla a couple weeks ago and haven't had any trouble either with side affects or taking it regularly. So as far as more practical matters of pill taking, I'm doing ok.

  I don't hate being positive, regret it, yes, but not hate. Of course it hasn't had that big an impact in my life just yet. I am more aware of things that are really important, friends and family. I knew they were but I have a greater appreciation for them. My parents 50th wedding anniversary was this past weekend, made all the more poignant by my being hiv poz. No one in my family knows at this point and I'm not so crass as to break that bit of news then. It was a great family reunion with lots of people I hadn't seen in a long time and lots more new nieces and nephews.

  I titled this thread "Relieved I'm poz" but I'm wondering if maybe "Finding acceptance" or something similar might be better title.  I'm well past the neurotic paranoia present in "Am I infected" threads. I am also through the initial what-do-I-do-now of "I Just Tested Poz" I'm trying to find a way to "Live with HIV" and haven't quite figured out how to do that.

  I had a conversation with the social worker in my ID clinic and he said that I should try to forgive my self. I don't know how to do that yet. Or for what exactly, beyond the obvious. I can't really even put into words what I need to forgive myself for. Despite all this morose naval gazing, I'm enjoying my work and had a wonderful time last weekend. I've even entered escrow on a new condo on Monday. How's that for a positive out look! 
3/8 CD4: 495, 31%, VL UD
2/1 CD4: 564, 20%.VL UD, switching to Issentress & truvada
10/11 CD4: 446, 29%, VL UD
7/11 CD4: 873, 35%, VL UD
4/11 CD4: 573, 34% VL 0
12/10 CD4: 405, 30% VL UD
9/10 CD4: 416, 31% VL UD
5/10 CD4: 393, 29% VL: UD
02/10 CD4: 423, 37% VL: UD
11/09 CD4: 379, 25% VL: UNDETECTABLE!!
10/09 CD4: 245, 25% VL: 87
9/09 CD4: 246, 24% VL: 49!
8/09 CD4: 277, 26% VL: 115
7/09 CD4: 346, 24% VL: 221
6/09 started Atripla
5/09 CD4: 326, 16%  VL:125000
4/09 HIV +, CD4: 397, 16%  VL:195000, PPD reactive

Offline decayingsinner

  • Member
  • Posts: 274
Re: Relieved I'm poz.
« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2009, 09:38:00 PM »
Elf, I totally know how you feel. I wasn't even looking for a relationship, only a hook up with other Hiv + guys and I just happen to find a guy that I am head over heals over.  Before that, my last relationship was 5 years ago when I was negative. I thought endless hook ups with hiv+ guys is all I would be able to settle for.  Being positive, a relationship was the furthest thing from my mind, my health is number one.  Now, my health and my relationship are number one.  To the point though, I am also kind of relieved that I am +, not knowing whether or not my risky behavior is affecting me or others.  I always kind of knew, and anyone that is in that situation should know they are putting their health in jeopardy and the ones they mess around with.

 


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