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waisland:
Hi, I've used these forums as a resource since being diagnosed and have decided to join myself. :)  I usually can't handle super long posts, but I want to share my experiences so I'll give an abridged version first:

I'm 21 from Miami, seroconverted in April, diagnosed in May, saw my first doctor in June, and began Stribild last week.

And the long version:

I am a 21 year old male from Miami.  I was unfortunately exposed to crystal meth in high school and have had on and off issues with it, though never long term.  Separately, I had struggled financially to afford an expensive art school in Chicago, and I'd been taking time off to save money to return.  I finally returned this past January, and couldn't have been happier.

In April, midway through the semester, I had taken some Adderall to get schoolwork done, but I must've taken a bit too much, because the craving for meth took over after nearly a year clean.  I made some mistakes that weekend, and sure enough, two weeks later I came down with what I thought was nasty food poisoning, followed by gingivitis, followed by gastritis, followed by an esophageal ulcer.  I got two IVs, lost 35 pounds, and failed all my classes over attendance.

I returned to Miami in May, and got tested a week before my 21st at an Out of the Closet with my best friend as an annual tradition, when learned I was positive.  A part of me had always suspected my irresponsibility would catch up, but I just could never have imagined how it would feel when it became real.

It felt like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuBaoba7UGw

I made the decision to immediately tell my family, who have been extremely supportive and have come to all my initial appointments.  Once I received my initial bloodwork results (237,000VL/ 430 CD4), I decided to be very open with my status, letting friends know when I saw them and making it clear that it was not a secret.  My circle of friends, a mixed bag of straight and gay, male and female, didn't know anyone else our age who was positive, and didn't realize how real the risk was.  Sick of the night sweats, I began taking Stribild just under a week ago.  Got the nausea, got the runs, and I puked yesterday, but I can handle it.

Over these past five months, two things in particular have surprised me:

1) HIV has done more good for me than bad.  I had already been iffy with drugs, and this was the slap in the face I needed to really cut them out of my life.  Cigarettes are coming next.  Maybe I'll even go to the gym.  It's given me a sense of direction that I feel I had lost after I dropped out of school.  I'm focusing on freelancing as a web developer, and I feel much more in control of my life.  Sure, I have some days when I'll cry about it or feel weak, but the good days seem to be more frequent (so far).

2) I feel more comfortable with my sexuality.  I've been out since middle school, but have always been just a bit uneasy with certain aspects of my sexuality.  I usually resist gay culture, I don't get the references, and I don't go to the bars.  But lately I feel I've been less self-loathing... I follow some gay blogs now and caught up on Drag Race!  I'm able to accept that enjoying certain aspects of gay culture doesn't define me as something separate from everyone else.

I still feel a little lost, though, because I don't personally know anyone else with HIV.  It would really make me feel better to have a friend going through, or who has gone through, what I currently am.  I've thought about going to support groups, but I'll admit I'm a little nervous.  I even messaged a guy on Grindr who was poz asking if he'd be willing to get lunch and talk (but no reply).  For now, I'll start by posting here :)

HI

Jeff G:
Hi Waisland , welcome to the forum .

I'm struck by your good attitude and I know it will help you going forward . We have many people here who have had HIV longer than you have lived yet , so your going to be just fine in time . Welcome and I'm glad you found us , sorry you needed too .

WillyWump:
Welcome aboard Waisland,

Sounds like you you've got a pretty good grasp on things, this will help you greatly as you navigate through the world of HIV. Keep your head up and chest out!

I hope you finally settled in with the Stribild and aren't having any more probs.

Good hearing your story and hope to see ya around ;)

-WIll


EUINAU:
Hi Waisland,

I was also recently infected and diagnosed and started meds straightaway. I too feel in some aspect things got better as I always struggled with will power of hitting the gym. Now it's an objective I take seriously and enjoying it.

I did not tell anyone except for my partner and to be honest I do not feel the need to tell anyone, however mainly because I am almost twice your age and experienced bullying and stigma of being gay. I am not out at work, though out to my friends.

I do not know anyone positive and this forum has been amazing in offering support and there is Poz Personals section I am sure there will be an opportunity for you to meet someone from your area and talk about stuff you'd like to share.

I have joined the personals and have been chatting to couple of guys, it helps :)

Just my two cents worth...

wolfter:
Welcome to the forums.  That's a great mindset, one which many struggle with for years to come to grips with their infection.  That was also a bold and courageous action you took regarding your status. 

I too tested positive at age 21 during college thanks to bad drunken behaviors on my 21st birthday.   ;)   But that was a LONG time ago.

Again, welcome and looking forward to hearing more from you. 

PS, we have an annual get-together and this year we went to Chicago.  Part of me is still recovering even after 3 weeks.

Wolfie

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