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Author Topic: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department  (Read 4643 times)

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Offline Joe K

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Of all the strangest issues surrounding HIV, I find none as perplexing as those who feel that HIV is somehow a gift.  Now my understanding of a gift, is something you give to another, to make that person feel extra special or to commemorate a birthday, anniversary or other significant date or just because you feel like it.  Many people take great care in choosing that gift, to ensure its uniqueness or to fit it to the style of the recipient.  A gift, by all accounts, is meant to make both the giver and receiver happy and I can’t even begin to fathom how HIV would do either of those things.

I often wonder if some people confuse getting HIV with receiving their “wake-up” call in life.  We all know those people, who experience some cataclysmic event, only to become “reborn”.  They begin to see many things in a different way, reprioritize their goals and some change their entire outlook on life.  They latch onto that experience as a turning point, that oft times, not only redefines their life, but it affects real change within them.  It can be a kind of cosmic “slap upside the head”, where fate gets your attention to present you with some new facts.  We don’t always respond as hoped, but many people make very meaningful changes in their life, outlook and morals.  And when you reconsider this experience, in light of these changes, it could appear that their respective “event” was indeed a gift.

Still, I remain confused, when I talk with someone about his or her infection and they claim it “was the best thing that ever happened to them.”  You can’t really mean that, can you?  Surely you are confusing your own internal potential, with some deadly virus and the two remain mutually exclusive.  When you make concrete changes for the better, you might do it because you are now positive, but not because the HIV somehow changed who you are.

HIV possesses no special abilities, other than to ravage your health and given the chance, it will kill you.  It does not make you a better person, no wiser, no more compassionate or intelligent.  And it’s not so much that the HIV even affects your qualities, because what you are or capable of being, is already contained within you.  So again, it appears that HIV may not be seen so much as a gift, but as a catalyst.  I imagine we all know people, who after they became positive, their aura changed.  But that change came from within, even if spurred externally, because we already possess all the tools for change, that we need, we just need to become more adept at wielding them.

When I first tested positive, in 85, my world came to a crashing halt.  I’ll skip the details, but the change in my perspective was immediate and undeniable.  Where I was once very occupied with climbing that social/corporate ladder, with all of its trappings, life became very simplified.  For someone who was usually pushing the envelope and rather self-centered, I became someone much more in tune with my surroundings.

No longer was the slow cashier “stupid or slow”, because now I thought: “What if something horrible has happened in their life and they are still recovering? And what’s my big hurry?”  I began to understand the impact of a catastrophe and I suppose you could say that during my first year, my compassion for others rose immensely.  I started to realize the difference between accepting and affecting change and gained a new perspective on how precious life can be.

In my case, what really happened with my becoming positive was my world imploded.  I was forced out of the closet, in more ways than one and for the first time in my life, I had to stand against a rather hostile world.  Yet, respond I did.  I slowly picked up my pieces and reassembled a life and moved forward.  Now that I was free from the lies of my past, I was free to become what I could, because I already possessed my capabilities.  I was able to apply so many skills and I really started to enjoy the new person that I had become.  Funny thing, being an ex-liar (Catholic, tried marriage, etc.), is how I now appreciate honesty and trust as the two most important human bonds.  So I rebuilt my life based on those and I have never regretted it.

My point is that you already contain all that you can be, if only you decide to use those qualities.

HIV did not make me an advocate, a writer, nor did it ever pay my bills, make me laugh or hold me on a lonely night.  By no stretch of the imagination can HIV be viewed as any type of a gift. 

However, the wake up call that came with my HIV infection has proven to be the greatest gift, I ever unwittingly gave to myself.

Joe

Offline MoMorrison

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2012, 06:30:51 PM »
Very well said Joe. I can relate to a lot of what you had to say.
Jan 2011 Tested HIV positive
01/2011 CD4 189 / VL 79,000
03/20/2012 CD4 133 (10%) / VL 46,000
03/28/2012 started bactrim ds
04/04/2012 started complera
05/24/2012 CD4 255 (17%) / VL 53
06/25/2012 stopped bactrim ds

Offline osric

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2012, 08:07:18 PM »
Well, I'm still looking for my receipt so I can trade this in for something I really want.

Offline Raf

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2012, 08:34:51 PM »
Teh aids only have brought me countless doctor visits and the fact that I won't ever leave my country due to meds and the little, little detail that I'll eventually die without them.

I'm still looking for the refund department too. Nice post Joe.
Dx: 05/14/2008
Latest HIV Meds combo I've been taking:

Kaletra + Combivir (since 05/16/2008 - today)

Offline drewm

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2012, 08:48:40 PM »
Well said Joe. Very well said. I think you said what I was thinking a couple of years ago when this forum erupted.  :)
MAY 2010
VL>500,000 CD4>8

JUNE 2010 STARTED ATRIPLA

DEC 2010
VL>30 CD4>323

Atripla. Valtrex, Trilipix, Fluoxotine

Offline mikeyb39

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2012, 08:58:08 PM »
To some folks HIV has always been something that stood in the way of 'freedom of sex'.  One spends his life worrying about whether or not they got infected from their  last sexual experience. Once you are infected then you don't have that worry anymore. To these folks that's the 'gift'.

I think that if most folks came onto this site and read thru the issues that HIV can cause, they might would reconsider it a 'gift'.  Folks see that their friends are positive, they take a pill and everything is fine.





11/02/2010  cd4-251, vl-591000
12/09/2010  started Atripla
02/18/2011  cd4-425, vl-800
06/10/2011  cd4-447, vl-70
10/10/2011  cd4-666, vl-80
01/05/2012  swiched med (prezista,norvir ,isentress, )
02/10/2012  cd4-733, vl-UD  Viread removed
06/10/2012  cd4-614, vl-UD
12/14/2012  cd4-764, vl-UD
09/01/2013  cd4-785, vl-UD
03/06/2014. cd4- 1078, VL-UD

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2012, 11:47:34 PM »
Testify, Preacher Joe.

"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 tednlou2

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2012, 12:54:24 AM »
I think the word "gift" is so ingrained in folks, especially the religious.  I hear many say this or that was a gift.  I rarely hear someone say a particular event was a catalyst.  Many just don't speak that way.  And, there are many poz and neg folks, who don't know what the word catalyst even means.  So, they use the word they know and have heard all their lives.  I'm sure if one were to ask whether they really mean catalyst, many would agree.

 

Offline Growler

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2012, 02:56:57 AM »
What a bunch of ungrateful little shits you all are.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEe55NxFSSU

Now shut the fuck up, say thankyou and pretend to enjoy your prezzie like good little boys and girls.

GROWLER
“If loving someone is putting them in a straitjacket and kicking them down a flight of stairs, then yes, I have loved a few people.”

Online mecch

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2012, 07:55:34 AM »
Joe, I think a lot of people who might say "Getting HIV was a gift" don't think about what they are saying as deeply as you do, here. 

Yes, many of these people probably mean it was an eye opener or a slap in the face.  Simply that.  So they interpret HIV as an impetus to change something important. Then there are the spiritual ones.   And probably there are a few who see it as a gift who have kinda "perverse" (atypical) psychology, or radical identities - like that whole gift giver / bug chaser cult a few years back.

I think it's possible for some to see the infection as "gift" for the reasons mentioned above but ALSO see it for the deadly virus it is, and take care of themselves.  They could treat it seriously as a virus, in tandem to going off on whatever intangible meaning they assign "being HIV+" to their lives.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2012, 07:57:32 AM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline GSOgymrat

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2012, 08:48:08 AM »
Well put, Joe.

One platitude that always annoys me is "God won't give you more than you can handle". The suicide rate proves this kernel of wisdom to be untrue.

Offline AlanBama

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2012, 09:55:41 AM »
Very well-stated Joe, as elequent as always.... and I couldn't agree more.  A Gift? oh HELL no.  A nightmare, a disaster, a tragedy, a life-changing monumental event maybe, but by no stretch of the imagination a GIFT. 

I did have a new and unexpected experience yesterday; I consider the 90's to be the worst decade of my life; one tragedy after another with AIDS....and I NEVER thought I'd be able to look back on that dark period with any kind of humour.  But yesterday, while having a pre-surgical intake appointment, and they kept asking me "have you ever had X and have you ever had Y or Z", my constant answer was, "yes back in the 90's" - it got rather funny.  It so many ways, that seems like yesterday in my mind, but to these young medical professionals, it was AGES ago.  Therefore, mostly inconsequential.   I found myself able to laugh about that.

Surviving this SHIT -- that's the true gift.

HUGS,
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 Joe K

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2012, 01:02:27 PM »
To some folks HIV has always been something that stood in the way of 'freedom of sex'.  One spends his life worrying about whether or not they got infected from their  last sexual experience. Once you are infected then you don't have that worry anymore. To these folks that's the 'gift'.

I think that if most folks came onto this site and read thru the issues that HIV can cause, they might would reconsider it a 'gift'.  Folks see that their friends are positive, they take a pill and everything is fine.

Thanks everyone for the kind words.  Mikey, I guess I never thought that no longer worrying about getting poz, because you already are, could be considered a "gift."  Or that being able to treat your infection with just a couple of pills, while being an incredible development, is really anything but sheer dumb luck.

I believe that my history dictates my views on this issue, because when I tested poz, there were NO HIV drugs and I expected to die, just like so many of my friends.  While I know that being poz now, is very different that decades earlier, it still kills people that we love.  All I can hope is that the people who need to hear my message, will understand and incorporate it into their lives.

It just seems to me, that so much of what is discussed about HIV today, is all sunshine and rainbows,  because everyone insists on being a "winner".  Far too many of us here, know that HIV remains a deadly virus and that sometimes, perception is everything.

Joe

Offline HARLEY_B

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2012, 11:33:24 AM »
 Thank you for your insight, Joe. I often come on here to read about others' experiences with this disease because I don't have a support group here or anyone to really discuss the topic with. I go to the doc every 4 or 5 months but she is always so hurried to get to the next patient that I seldom feel as if I can ask anything other than the few questions I can recall at the moment. She's not short with me by any means. I just feel that she has such a large patient load that I don't want to "hold her up".
 At any rate, thank you! I do read your posts as well as the others on here. Thank you for sharing your insights and thoughts.

                                                                                    Tim

Offline Ann

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2012, 12:23:15 PM »

I can ask anything other than the few questions I can recall at the moment.


Tim, you might want to think about getting a small notebook where you can jot any questions down as they occur, then take it with you to your appointment to jog your memory. I do this - and I also leave a space between questions to write down the answer. Far too many times I've neglected to note the answer and then forgot what it was later.



I've never considered my hiv as any sort of a gift, although it was a huge wake-up call to get my life sorted out. I had self-esteem issues and that caused me to not insist on condoms. I'm no longer anyone's doormat and I'm happy with who I am, despite having hiv. It didn't have to take hiv to get to this place, but it was ultimately the catalyst.

The only real benefit I can think of that I've had from being poz is all the lovely, wonderful and caring people I've met that I probably never would have before hiv. Some of my dearest friends live scattered all around the world and it's only the internet and our membership on this forum that made it possible.

But otherwise, hiv sucks. I want a refund too!
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 LOSTBOYZ

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2012, 02:17:04 PM »
HIV is a great suffering for me and for people who love me. I'm poz since 2009, soon going to take meds (next month).

My life is turned upside down. I have loved only one person in my life, the only one with which I had sex. I asked if he had never touched or picked up sperm. "Never, I am pure". And now ..after 8 years of relationship...the DAMN gift...

hugs

Offline Valmont

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2012, 03:58:20 PM »
Between those who think it is a gift, those who believe that HIV in 2012 is not a great deal, those who think it is for marginal people only or that is for people that don´t believe in God, we should create a special "HIV Stupid Award"...

Some one to receive my "gift", because I don´t want it anymore...
Apr 2011: Diagnotized
Jun 2011: CD4: 504  VL: 176.000
Dic 2011: CD4: 714  VL: 95.000
May 2012: CD4: 395 VL: 67.000
Jun 2012: CD4: 367
Agu 2012: Starting Emtricitabine 200 mg / Tenofovir 300 mg and Efavirenz 600 mg (2 pills) different brands or VIRADAY/ATRIPLA/Mylan....
Sep 2012: VL: 138
Dic 2012: CD4: 708 VL: <34  %CD4: 32%
Jan 2013: CD4: 707 VL: <20
May 2013: CD4: 945 VL: <34 %CD4: 33%
Agu 2013: CD4: 636 VL: <34 %CD4: 50%
Dic 2013: Latent TB, started Isoniazid

Offline Rockin

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2012, 05:50:06 PM »
It is what it is. I understand and respect the OP feelings but I don't do self-pity. 

Offline madbrain

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2012, 09:59:08 PM »
My life is turned upside down. I have loved only one person in my life, the only one with which I had sex. I asked if he had never touched or picked up sperm. "Never, I am pure". And now ..after 8 years of relationship...the DAMN gift...

So, he never even masturbated ? Assuming you mean someone else's sperm, you do realize that there are ways to catch HIV that don't involve sex, so he might not have been lying to you about that part. But that is irrelevant.

It really does not matter under which circumstances you got your virus. That is really the hard part. The sooner you can accept that, the better you will be able to live with it.

Personally, I do not find it a gift. HIV has certainly changed my life a lot, but I would never say that it has caused me to make positive changes in my life, even indirectly. If there is a lesson to be learned from having been infected with HIV, I am not getting what it is.

Offline Rockin

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2012, 02:23:10 AM »
So, he never even masturbated ? Assuming you mean someone else's sperm, you do realize that there are ways to catch HIV that don't involve sex, so he might not have been lying to you about that part. But that is irrelevant.

It really does not matter under which circumstances you got your virus. That is really the hard part. The sooner you can accept that, the better you will be able to live with it.

Personally, I do not find it a gift. HIV has certainly changed my life a lot, but I would never say that it has caused me to make positive changes in my life, even indirectly. If there is a lesson to be learned from having been infected with HIV, I am not getting what it is.

Well I guess I learned with lesson: At this point nothing scares me anymore and I have zero patience for people with petty problems and petty drama.

I learned how strong and tough I am, much more than my straight relatives, who would be wetting their beds and picking up sharp and pointy weapons if they were in my shoes.

And Valmont, I wouldnt go as far as saying that gettin HIV in 2012 is no big deal but I'm glad that I got it now than back in the 80's or 90's. Amen to that.

Offline Joe K

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2012, 12:30:38 PM »
It is what it is. I understand and respect the OP feelings but I don't do self-pity.

You may respect my feelings, but you don't understand what I am saying.  What I describe is self-empowerment, which is the exact opposite of self-pity.

Joe

Offline Rockin

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Re: If HIV is a gift, please direct me to the refund department
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2012, 02:26:33 PM »
You may respect my feelings, but you don't understand what I am saying.  What I describe is self-empowerment, which is the exact opposite of self-pity.

Joe

I apologize, I can be too harsh sometimes. Its my own way of coping with it.

 


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