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Author Topic: Just diagnosed and new relationship  (Read 5587 times)

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Offline chrisVT2003

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Just diagnosed and new relationship
« on: September 12, 2011, 10:03:27 PM »
I recently tested positive and already had my first labs comlpeted. My viral load is only 127 and my CD-4 count is that of a normal healthy person. My doctor said that these were great numbers and that I probably shouldn't have to worry about meds right now since my immune system was doing an excellent job at holding the HIV under control. He did say that I could start a regime of medication if I choose to though, but I am not sure if I should. I am keeping that option open of course. I know I contracted this virus sometime in 2008 or 2009 when I was in a relationship with someone who was open to me about his HIV status. We engaged in a lot of risky behavior (i bottomed and he frequently came in me) mostly in part because I felt like we would be together forever and because we were experimenting with a lot of drugs in the party scene (never needles). We ended up breaking up due to the drug use. I needed time to recover from that so I moved in back home but didnt get tested until a month ago.

I met another guy though shortly after my diagnosis and I am deathly afraid that if I tell him he would want nothing more to do with me. We have had sex a few times (with protection) but we have also slipped up a couple times and not used a condom. I feel absolutely terrible about this and wanted to see if any of you guys have advice on how to talk to him about it. I know I am a coward for not telling him sooner, but this is my first experience in having to deal with relationships and being positive. I know he loves me and I feel the same way for him. One time, in a random conversation, he mentioned that if he ever got HIV he would just feel dirty and even mentioned jokingly that he would rather die. Since then I have obstained from having sex with him and I know he must be thinking that I am losing interest.

I have a couple questions. First, we've had unprotected sex about 4 or 5 times, I was the top and I never came inside him. Since I have such a low viral load and a perfect cd4 count (or as my doctor put it, a very healthy immune system) does this make this kind of sex safer and can I continue? Second, how should I tell him and do you guys have any similiar stories? If so, what happened? Should I start going on meds?

Thanks for your guys help...


Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Just diagnosed and new relationship
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2011, 10:35:02 PM »
First off, welcome to the forums!

I am sorry you needed to find us, but glad you did.

Now the unhappy stuff.

The risk to your partner was very low, of course. Viral lod and seminal viral load are often very similar. But they are sometimes not.

Your partner needs to get tested three months past his last unprotected encounter with you. Period. You know this, of course.

Getting into someone else's head is always tricky. You think you know a person, then you run over their cat with your car, and all that.

His perception of the events might be dramatically different once he knows you are positive. You need to brace for this. He might think you have intentionally tried to infect him. He might think that YOU think so little of him that you didn't care about his safety, health, or life.

And he will have every reason to wander upon either train of thought. You must know this. While it's certainly not impossible that your relationship will dissolve upon hearing the news, you have to prepare yourself for that likelihood. Because even with the science at your disposal, low risk is not no risk.

In many states, having unprotected sex with an HIV negative person is a felony. In some states, having ANY sort of sex without disclosing your status is a felony. Please don't underestimate what a person can do when faced with the horrifying (and it is) prospect of having been exposed to an uncurable disease.

 Even if litigation doesn't happen, this person could well make your life pretty much hell where you live. People have been hurt very badly and worse for this kind of stuff. Please protect yourself in that manner as well.

But scary as that is, you need to tell him. If you care for him at all, you need to make sure he gets tested.

I am sorry that my first reply to you sounds so foreboding, and I really am trying like hell not to sound judge-y. But you've done something that has put another human at risk for HIV, and though I am a HUGE proponent of mutual/personal responsibility, you did so with the scope of his choice concealed from him. At the most generous, that is uncool. You know this, I am sure.

Please, in the future, wear a condom when you have sex with someone. Make HIV stop with you.

You might have years and years before you need the MEDS past of AIDSMeds. But I think you will find great support and help (and some amazing love-filled verbal beatdowns) as you navigate the world you find yourself thrust into.  There are good people here who have been through almost everything you can imagine. Locate them as soon as you can, and listen carefully to their stuff.

Again, welcome.
"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline spacebarsux

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Re: Just diagnosed and new relationship
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2011, 03:46:27 AM »
Hi Chris, Welcome to the forums.

Sorry to hear about your diagnosis and the difficult situation you are confronted with.

I was diagnosed when I was in a relationship. I told my partner over the phone within 5 seconds after receiving my test result. The relationship ended shortly afterwards and it was painful BUT life goes on. The good news for you in my story is that my viral load was significantly higher than yours when I barebacked with my partner prior to diagnosis, but he tested negative and remains so to this day.

I can see how difficult this is for you and I really don't mean to pass judgment.......but just put yourself in your partner's shoes for a moment and I'm you will see that what you are did is plain wrong.  If you have feelings for him like you say you do (or even if you don't care too much for him), I think you should tell him the truth as soon as possible. He needs to get tested and look after his health since he has been put at a real risk. You should also ensure that you do not have unprotected sex with him (or anyone else who's negative/status unknown) again without his consent (even in the heat of passion or whatever).

I really don't know what to say about how you should tell him, cos everyone reacts differently to the news and such things can really bring out the wild beast in people but I'm of the opinion that him knowing (at the earliest) is far more important than the medium of communication used. You know your partner better than we do and so you're probably the best judge to decide what method would work best/ in what setting you plan to disclose- as long as he understands that he has had a very real risk and must get tested but at the same time protect yourself in case things may turn ugly.

About other stuff, this site is a great place and the support is great...so you can keep coming on here for support and advice. Your viral load is very low and if it remains that way and your CD4s stay in normal range you could go without meds for a long time, should you so choose.

Take care
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 07:18:10 AM by spacebarsux »
Infected-  2005 or early 2006; Diagnosed- Jan 28th, 2011; Feb '11- CD4 754 @34%, VL- 39K; July '11- CD4 907@26%,  VL-81K; Feb '12- CD4 713 @31%, VL- 41K, Nov '12- CD4- 827@31%

Offline Ann

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Re: Just diagnosed and new relationship
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2011, 08:35:29 AM »
Hi Chris, welcome to the forums.

You need to know that some states criminalise not only hiv transmission, but some also criminalise exposure not resulting in transmission as well. In some states it doesn't even matter if you used a condom without disclosing your hiv status first.

You can find out what the score is in your state at the Lambda Legal website.

I'm not saying I agree with the criminalisation of hiv - I don't - but the hard, cold fact is that many do and laws are on the books in many states. You'd be wise to be aware of the laws in your state.

Your boyfriend needs to test. Pre-cum is also infectious, therefore it doesn't matter all that much that you didn't cum in him. He has been at risk and he does need to test. You're going to have to tell him. Good luck.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Joe K

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Re: Just diagnosed and new relationship
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2011, 03:35:04 PM »
Hey Chris, welcome to the forums.

I sorry you have tested poz and I hope you will use these forums to help you adjust to being poz. Part of that adjustment will require you to realize that you now have an incurable and potentially deadly disease. Because you are poz, you have an obligation to never infect another human being with HIV. Fear is never an excuse for putting the life of another in danger and having unprotected sex with your boyfriend is just plain wrong. If you want someone to truly love you, they need to know the whole truth about you. Hiding your status from him can send him the message that you do not care for him, otherwise why would you expose him to potential exposure? You have crossed a very dangerous line and hopefully he will remain negative.

Given what you describe, I suggest you check your local laws about HIV transmission before you tell him your status. You need to know if you may have violated any laws by your actions and if so, you may want to talk with an attorney before telling him anything. I am suggesting this because you may have a real serious issue on your hands, as you cannot know how he might react when you tell him.

Please understand, I cannot condone what you have done, however you do need to protect yourself as well as your boyfriend. He needs to be told and you must learn from this to never, ever expose another to HIV by hiding your status or by not using protection.

Joe

Offline chrisVT2003

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Re: Just diagnosed and new relationship
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2011, 03:38:00 PM »
Thank you guys for your advice...I know that being newly diagnosed and the fear of rejectment that comes with that isn't an excuse for my actions and I will inform him of my status. I'll try to do it in a way that doesn't become ugly but I don't know if that is possible. I hope that the relationship continues, but it sounds like a lot of relationships end after diagnosis.

I guess my next question has a lot to do with my fear of never being able to be in a committed relationship again. I know that fear is unfounded but I could use some advice from people who have been successful at telling potential sexual partners or dates about their status. How do you guys inform people? What kind of statements do you make? When do you tell them? What are the usual responses like? My fear is that if I tell them right after I meet them then they wouldnt of had the chance to get to know me and decide whether the risk is worth the reward of being with me. On the other hand, if I tell them too late they might be mad at me for having wasted their time seeing as how they wouldnt date anyone that was positive in the first place. The other fear I have is whether or not these people will then go and tell everyone in the gay community that I have HIV and a reputation is stuck with me...

This is all soo difficult...any advice or help from your experiences would greatly be appreciated.

Offline Joe K

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Re: Just diagnosed and new relationship
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2011, 04:07:49 PM »
I guess my next question has a lot to do with my fear of never being able to be in a committed relationship again. I know that fear is unfounded but I could use some advice from people who have been successful at telling potential sexual partners or dates about their status. How do you guys inform people? What kind of statements do you make? When do you tell them? What are the usual responses like? My fear is that if I tell them right after I meet them then they wouldnt of had the chance to get to know me and decide whether the risk is worth the reward of being with me. On the other hand, if I tell them too late they might be mad at me for having wasted their time seeing as how they wouldnt date anyone that was positive in the first place. The other fear I have is whether or not these people will then go and tell everyone in the gay community that I have HIV and a reputation is stuck with me...

This is all soo difficult...any advice or help from your experiences would greatly be appreciated.

Chris, you are newly diagnosed as being poz and your world has changed forever. You need some time to absorb what being poz means and as you do that, these other issues will become a little clearer. I read your questions, but I "hear" what you are asking and yes you are worthy of being loved and there are people who will view your being poz as just another facet of who you are. You have a disease, the disease does not have you and right now you just need some time to adjust.

I'm going to suggest that you give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you feel, without having to do anything about any of it. Feelings are neither good or bad, they just are and just because you "feel" something does not make it real. Adjusting to being poz is hard work and it takes time. Give yourself some time and just take it one day at a time. It's OK to be afraid and to fear for your future as this is all part of adjusting. It's normal to have your mind racing, with a million questions that seem to have endless possibilities, as your life has changed. But change requires time to adjust and for now you need to be kind to yourself in body, mind and spirit. Give yourself permission to feel and see how it goes.

There is no right or wrong way to adjust to being poz. We each have our own journey with HIV and while we cannot tell you how your journey will be, we will be there to walk alongside you.

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Just diagnosed and new relationship
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2011, 04:08:46 PM »
As a Long Term Survivor, I have noticed that disclosure doesn't scare me as much as it used to. I can pretty well figure someone out within the first conversation or two insofar as their level of anxiety or phobia. Well that and I'm all involved with HIV stuff, so it's a routine topic of conversation.

If I suspect that the situation might be a dating one, I disclose sooner than later. As far as I know, the "cat" of my infection is pretty much out of the bag. But then again I really don't do the urban gay/bar community thing like I used to.

I did experience a real "small town" vibe there, and I wonder if it's not an age/maturity thing. One thing I found out there was, when one person knows, basically that whole part of the community knows.

After all these years, HIV remains juicy gossip.

People in their 30s and 40s (and up) are way more likely to be informed and mature - or at least discreet if they can't be the first two. So maybe it is an age/life experience thing, as much as it is an informational thing.

I do have note of real caution, and we see this more and more in young people (15-30) who never knew a world where AIDS was prevalent, or who suffered losses among people their own age. And I blame part of it on very, maybe TOO successful efforts by the Poz community to reduce the stigma.

You will encounter people who think HIV is no big deal. Who won't want to wear condoms, because hell, it's a pill a day, no sweat, no harm, no foul. These people usually wouldn't have the discipline to maintain a regimen in perpetuity, so that one pill would quickly become four, seven, fifteen - and that's assuming they could even afford them.

These people, along with the adventure/adrenalin junkies who think being "bred" means some sort of initiation into a cool subculture is awesome, should be avoided at all costs. That level of immaturity, that level of sociopathy is astonishing.

And do NOT get me started on HIV/AIDS denialists. I could go on and the hell on about those fuckwits. This year we got to sit on the front row in these forums as one of their sad disciples died while we watched/wailed/begged him to get treatment.

People still die of AIDS. Even in developed nations, even with healthcare, and yes, even before the age of 30. I don't know what sort of stuff you are made up of, as far as morality is concerned, but as for myself, I do not want to bring this disease to anyone else.

This disease has ruined me financially. It has isolated me to a great extent socially (less now, thank Goddess, than when I was in my 20s and 30s), it has brought me to the edge of death several times, and left me with a body and mind I have to constantly struggle to keep functioning.

It's a big deal.  It's a game changer. There's no point in sugar coating that.

You will have to grow up a lot faster than your peers. You will need a thicker skin than most folks your age. You will be forced into making some really uncomfortable decisions. Disclosure is one of them.

I have an acquaintance who recently tested positive. He does the gay bar scene a lot. I think it's one of the few ways he has of meeting guys, hanging out, being social. When he tested positive, he really thought he could go about doing the same thing, with the same crowd. But since then, about every other week, I get a tearful email about some nasty bitchy comment one of his "friends" makes about HIV infected people. About it's just an Old Person Disease - and about how Those People shouldn't be allowed to mingle with the herd. All that.

Obviously, these guys had been talking like this all along. But now that he's one of "them," he finally notices. And is terrified to tell. So there he is, surrounded by people, and all alone. He is afraid to disclose, obviously, because then he becomes the fodder for mockery and gossip. And yet he is afraid to ditch that scene because it's all he knows.

I'm absolutely hoping that he grows up enough to make the right decision for himself, the one that will allow him to be happy instead of ashamed, and develop real friends instead of the illusion of friends. All I can do is listen, though.

You're going to need good friends. Not cool friends. Not hip ones, trendy, or bitchy ones. Good friends. I sincerely hope you find them.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline LM

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Re: Just diagnosed and new relationship
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2011, 04:29:15 PM »
I think there is no simple, easy answer to your questions. The psychologist at the clinic I go to told me that now I needed to develop the sensibility to know how, to whom and when to disclose. Different ways will work for different people. Some like to disclose right in the beginning. Some like to wait until the person knows them better. Do what makes you feel more comfortable, you should think first about your well-being. However, never forget the other person's feelings as well.

Offline Joe K

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Re: Just diagnosed and new relationship
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2011, 05:37:17 PM »
edited to remove an unfair accusation about the OP
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 06:18:00 PM by killfoile »

Offline chrisVT2003

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Re: Just diagnosed and new relationship
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2011, 05:59:55 PM »
Edited....
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 06:44:27 PM by chrisVT2003 »

Offline Joe K

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Re: Just diagnosed and new relationship
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2011, 06:15:01 PM »
Ummm...no.

OMG I am so sorry, I got the link confused with another member. Please accept my most humble apologies.

edited to add: I have requested a moderator to remove the link.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 06:33:25 PM by killfoile »

Offline Dachshund

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Re: Just diagnosed and new relationship
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2011, 06:28:56 PM »
Y'all might want to get a mod to remove that link before someone's head explodes.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Just diagnosed and new relationship
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2011, 07:02:52 PM »
Problematic link seems to be gone. Let me know otherwise.

Thanks.
Andy Velez

Online mecch

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Re: Just diagnosed and new relationship
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2011, 07:37:58 PM »
Welcome to the forums.
Sorry you got the HIV.
Great to hear of your good immune response.

How about working on some respect for others. As well as yourself. 

First of all, I get that your infection was the result of bad decisions on drugs.  I don't get your rationale that it was also due to your thinking you would be forever with your HIV+ lover, so you might as well get infected?  WTF?

Secondly, you don't have the option to "just slip up" with partners who you haven't told you are HIV+.   That's not just a "slip up".  It's rather immoral, in my opinion, of you.

Now you have to deal with this nasty problem between you and your new friend. 

But if you are more intelligent, it shouldn't be a problem with future ones.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline jacken

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Re: Just diagnosed and new relationship
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2011, 12:36:52 AM »
Make HIV stop with you.

I don't have any other better suggestions but did read this thread with great interest. I simple quoted the one as a lesson learned and a great reminder. Thanks.

 


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