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Author Topic: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"  (Read 4705 times)

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Offline ChaplinGuy

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"I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« on: October 24, 2006, 08:13:36 PM »

I just had to share a very interesting experience I had at work today. A colleague and I (we work in PR) started talking about an article about the launch of the RED campaign, and she innocently said (in context of the conversation) that she "doesn't even know anyone with HIV/AIDS". Man, the shock she would have had if I had said, "except for me..."

It made me realize that so many people out there are unaware that HIV does in fact look like them, and the person next to them on the subway, and the person at the checkout, and the person at the movies, and the person their girlfriends are dating.

Had to share. It was an enlightening moment for me.

Offline Eldon

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2006, 08:20:37 PM »
Hey Chaplinguy,

I agree with you on this one. You would actually be shocked to know who is HIV positive right in your immediate surroundings. Thanks for sharing.



Make the BEST of each Day!

Offline MSPspud

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2006, 12:13:46 AM »
This reminds me of being in Target the other day and seeing a Trizivir pamphlet poking out of a guy's bag who was walking out of the pharmacy.  Neither of us (my friend and I) would have guessed, then again, I could shock a few acquaintences at work myself.  I suppose that's why I try to share my story with as many people as I can.   :)

tendai

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2006, 04:08:41 AM »
we have so many patients coming here and its only when the doctor mentions in his letters that the patient has a 'compromised immune system' that i realise they're poz.  and some of the people u would not believe it coz they look so healthy its hard to believe..

Offline tsw923

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2006, 08:26:02 AM »
At this risk of sounding self absorbed, I really didn't even THINK about it until I was diagnosed in August.  I'm not conscience of thinking that HIV people were a certain type.  I knew intellectually that HIV could infect almost anyone, but I just didn't it was me or anyone I knew either. 

Now I am very aware of being hyper sensitive to other people's perceptions.  There was some commercial on TV about the pill or something that stated that it didn't protect against HIV.  My brother (who doesn't know yet) made a comment that 'If the person has HIV I'm sure they have bigger fish to try.'  I tensed up and had to force myself to relax.  I also have a cousin who was possibly going in for surgery and she was telling ME that she didn't want blood transfusions because she didn't want to get HIV.  Sigh... 

How naive are we all?
Help find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related cancers by sponsoring me as I walk a 1/2 marathon as a part of the Maryland chapter of Team in Training.  To find out more and to donate, please click on the following site:  http://www.active.com/donate/tntmd/tswtntmd

tendai

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2006, 09:00:21 AM »
my family is constantly talking about it.  HIV is so common here in Zimbabwe almost everyone has come to assume they have it and live accordingly, they assume the person they're going to sleep with next has it and they take precautions. of course there are those who just look at a person and assume they're negative and i think those are the people who make it so prevalent because they fail to protect themselves and their current or future partners.  when people talk about it i try to put in as much information as i can and mention how its not a death sentence and living positively etc.  i havent come out yet and i'm not ready yet.  a good looking woman came in today she was lost and needed directions for the laboratory and she showed me her slip that requested for t cell profiles.  u wouldnt think it to see her.  people need a lot more awareness on this i think, especially in places where its not a raging pandemic like it is here. 

Offline pozguy75

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2006, 10:57:46 AM »
These kinds of interactions definately put things into perspective for us don't they! I hear this all the time, and then of course, I explain to these people, "yes, you do...ME." Of course the look of shock and usually one of these phrases are uttered: "OH MY GOD..." or my personal favorite: "You don't look sick!"

It just goes to show you how important it is for us to be visable and vocal!

Thank you for talking about this!
Dx 2005
ATRIPLA

Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2006, 01:33:04 PM »
or my personal favorite: "You don't look sick!"

y'know, whenever i hear this, i see the silver lining (meaning great I don't "look sick" whatever the feck that means) *HOWEVER*, the next time i hear it i'm sure i'll say Honey, THIS IS 2006 - NOT 1986 ... i just know i will. i can't lie --- it irks me, although i know they mean well  :-\ :-\ :-\

Offline poet

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2006, 05:46:34 PM »
Times have indeed changed.  In NYC in the 1980's or via films which you can watch, it was obvious and noted on the streets that someone 'must have AIDS,' never, of course, that someone must be hiv positive.  It was the look.  The thinness.  The struggle to do simple things like walk.  And NYC, being what it was/is, went gym crazy so that guys could pump up their bodies to PROVE that they weren't tarnished (read hiv positive).  Which worked until the cocktails came out and guys could be hiv positive, take drugs and look 'great.'  Which loops back to how each of us, to what degree we can be or want to be, is the 'face of the hiv positive.'  Which further loops back to my question elsewhere to what degree any of us is comfortable being the face and/or spokesperson when we speak, of the hiv positive, because when we disclose to a co-worker, a friend, a classmate, a neighbor, we are entering into the public realm. 
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Longislander

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2006, 05:59:26 PM »
I first came out in the late late 80's and my 1st lover had a few friends who had AIDS. They actually were in pretty bad shape a great deal of the time. But they would bounce back, appear normal, then fade back. I watched it, saw some of them die, and still see one of them around today, but he definitely shows the lipo and stuff. I introduced a good friend of mine to this same guy at a party that I knew from the old days, and when he could my friend said"what's wrong with him?'. I was kind of shocked that he couldn't recognize it.

Since that BF, in the late 90's until now, HIV wasn't much on my mind. I didn't know of anyone who had it, and I could look around and not see anyone with the old signs.  I was in a 5 year relationship during this time, so that also kept me from seeing it.

And I definitely would never have guessed the guy I got it from had it.

It isn't brought up in my daily life. And I'm not made of spokesperson stuff.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2006, 06:01:06 PM by Longislander »
infected 10/05 diagnosed 12-05
2/06   379/57000                    6/07 372/30500 25%   4/09 640/U/32% 
5/06   ?? /37000                     8/07 491/55000/24%    9/09 913/U/39%
8/06   349/9500 25%              11/07 515/68000/24     2/10 845/U/38%
9/06   507/16,000 30% !          2/08  516/116k/22%    7/10 906/80/39%
12/06 398/29000 26%             Start Atripla 3/08
3/07   402/80,000 29%            4/08  485/undet!/27
4/07   507/35,000 25%            7/08 625/UD/34%
                                                 11/08 684/U/36%

Offline Queen Tokelove

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2006, 06:57:44 PM »
  There was some commercial on TV about the pill or something that stated that it didn't protect against HIV.  My brother (who doesn't know yet) made a comment that 'If the person has HIV I'm sure they have bigger fish to try.' 



Funny, you should mention those commercials. At one point in time if someone was with me watching tv and that came on, I would cringe. Then I would sit there and wondered if they knew. I have now gotten over that. I'm at the point in my life that if someone does know, I don't even care anymore. If asked about hiv, I gladly will talk about it with a person. I didn't encounter hiv until I lived in Miami and had a few friends that passed from it.
Started Atripla/Ziagen on 9/13/07.
10/31/07 CD4-265 VL- undetectable
2/6/08 CD4- 401 VL- undetectable
5/7/08 CD4- 705 VL- undetectable
6/4/08 CD4- 775 VL- undetectable
8/6/08 CD4- 805 VL- undetectable
11/13/08 CD4- 774 VL--undetectable
2/4/09  CD4- 484  VL- 18,000 (2 months off meds)
3/3/09---Starting Back on Meds---
4/27/09 CD4- 664 VL-- undetectable
6/17/09 CD4- 438 VL- 439
8/09 CD4- 404 VL- 1,600
01-22-10-- CD4- 525 VL- 59,000
Cherish the simple things life has to offer

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Offline tsw923

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2006, 09:04:20 PM »
allopathicholistic you are so right about 'the look'.  As I think back, I had a cousin that died from AIDS in the late 80's early 90's.  I was in my late teens and I remember everyone whispering about him and his 'male friend' that was staying with him even though he was sick.   :o  No we could not discuss homosexuality back then and especially not in front of us kids  ::)  But he was so thin and so sick I just remember feeling really sorry for him and wondering why no one could help him. 

So fast forward to now -- I believe most still think of HIV as the gay man's disease so I'm really sure folks will be surprised when I tell them.  My doctor told me that I' would be surprised to know who in his office had HIV.  From the articles I've read, this is really an epidemic and new cases are up among heterosexual women and black women in particular.  I'm not a big activist, but I think when I'm really ready to tell my family I will try to do something.  Ignorance is not bliss -- trust me, I know....now... :P
Help find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related cancers by sponsoring me as I walk a 1/2 marathon as a part of the Maryland chapter of Team in Training.  To find out more and to donate, please click on the following site:  http://www.active.com/donate/tntmd/tswtntmd

Offline Cliff

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2006, 06:57:39 AM »
A friend, who teaches Spanish to adults, told me that once a student asked how do you say, "I am HIV positive."  He told her (Soy vih positivo, I think) and she repeated it.  She then said, "Well thank God neither of us will ever have to use that phrase."

He's HIV positive.

Offline wellington

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2006, 09:59:38 AM »
tsw923:  Makes me wonder if the next thing out of their mouths will be "I didn't know you were gay!" Kinda a double-whammy for those folks that aren't.

Offline tsw923

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2006, 02:08:26 PM »
Wellington,

That will be too funny... My answer will be 'No I'm not a lesbian, but I play one on TV.'  LOL 

Seriously though -- perhaps I'm looking in the wrong places, but I can only seem to find support groups for HIV+ gay folks or women with substance abuse problems.  So where does that leave me?!  Unless chocolate is now listed as a drug, I don't belong in either category....  Ah well... I have always liked to be different. 

-T
Help find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related cancers by sponsoring me as I walk a 1/2 marathon as a part of the Maryland chapter of Team in Training.  To find out more and to donate, please click on the following site:  http://www.active.com/donate/tntmd/tswtntmd

Offline srmn98

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2006, 02:37:35 PM »
Laughed my ass off when I saw your "play a lesbian on TV" comment. Thanks, needed that !!  I have a feeling I will get a chance to use it at some point.

and yeah, i'm having the same trouble with finding a support group. there don't seem to be any in my area for hetero single women. in fact, there do not seem to be any that are not specific to gender/sexual orientation/ race. I'd love to find one that was more open to everybody, or that at least would ALLOW me, lol !

that is what is so great about this forum though. :)   


Offline poet

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2006, 05:18:14 PM »
And the answer for our women is when there isn't the group that you need, create it yourselves (meant totally seriously but not with attitude).  If either of you takes that step and uses this forum, craigslist.org or any other resources you may have in your communities, the other women who also feel the same as you do whom you don't yet know will follow your lead.  It's actually no different than finding yourself wanting a garden club, chess club or whatever and stopping at that point.  Start it.  The most satisfying aspect is that you can then create the type of group you are really after, choose the day of the week, the time, the place, rather than trying to fit something into your schedule. 
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Coffeechick88

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2006, 04:42:45 PM »
I know what you mean about that.  I was infected 6 years ago.   Anyhow, I think before I was infected I didn't even think about it and I think I probably had some stereotypes in my mind about how someone who is HIV positive looks.  I mean, this guy was healthy, active, was on the soccer team--not the type of person that fits the stereotypical HIV positive look.

I have definitely studied up on it now, so I know the treatments and such.  I do get the same remarks when I tell people I have it--"You don't look sick!"  I did have the sick look before I started meds--I was tired and didn't feel like eating so lost a lot of weight, but now that I am on meds and doing very well, I now feel like eating and am a bit overweight--which makes people think that I couldn't possibly have such a thing.  I even get it from the doctors in the small town hospital I work at who seem to think that those with HIV aren't going to live long enough to become overweight and worry about lipids and diabetes and should only focus on HIV.

I also had to explain to some people that the guy who gave it to me, no he didn't sleep with men.  This is always met with the misconception that somehow it isn't likely that a woman will give a man HIV. After that, they ask me if he was a drug user.  I still say nothing injectable and they are shocked.   People do still think it is a disease of gay men and IV drug users.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2007, 07:57:43 AM by Coffeechick88 »
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Offline tsw923

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2006, 07:27:03 PM »
poet -- you make a good point about starting a group.  I suppose that would be the next logical step.  I will think about it some more and see what I can do... Thanks for the nudge in the right direction.


-T
Help find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related cancers by sponsoring me as I walk a 1/2 marathon as a part of the Maryland chapter of Team in Training.  To find out more and to donate, please click on the following site:  http://www.active.com/donate/tntmd/tswtntmd

Offline poet

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2006, 05:31:47 AM »
Great, TSW.  Your comment has led to me ask a new subject elsewhere: what brings you to the forums each day?  Do you feel something coming out from yourself via your questions and replies?  Do you feel something coming back to you as a result of them.  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Ihavehope

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2007, 06:51:27 PM »
I sometimes feel like I am the only person in room full of strangers or in the subway on my way to work with HIV. I feel so alone in a room full of people but I look the same then before being diagnosed. When I see someone who appears to be fragile and thin, I wonder if they are positive and then I remember that HIV has no face, just like Jesus. I often wonder if anyone at work has it or any of my gay friends have it. It feels so lonely being HIV, even though there are over a mllion of us living with this disease now in the U.S. Not only do many of us have to hide our sexual preference but many of us have to be discreet about our HIV status.
Infected: April 2005
12/6/06 - Diagnosed HIV positive
12/19/06 - CD4 = 240  22% VL = 26,300
1/4/07 - CD4 = 200 16% VL = ?
2/9/07 = Started Kaletra/Truvada
3/13/07 = CD4 = 386 22% VL ?

Offline JPinLA

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2007, 08:13:37 PM »
I was just thinking about this the other day. I was walking around work thinking "they don't know" or "do they know?"  "do they suspect?".  The true face of HIV is definitely all of us these days and I am constantly surprised by my own and others naivete.

JP

11/06 - Diagnosed - VL/5784 & CD4 326
2/07 - VL/6000 & CD4 290 2/07
3//07 -Began Truvada/Viramune 
4/07 VL/undetectable and CD4 320 22%
7/07 VL/undetectable and CD4 286 22%
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Offline Life

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2007, 10:03:25 AM »
There was a season we had to wear these pins on our uniforms at the hotel.... They were very dazzling pins.   The pin had in very shinny silver letters "Ask Me"....   No one ever did.... ;)
« Last Edit: February 04, 2007, 10:11:50 AM by Eric »

Offline ACinKC

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2007, 11:28:10 AM »
This very thing happened to me at work not ONCE but TWICE last week.  A girl was wearing one of the RED shirts and I inquired (knowing full well what it was) as to why she wore it.  She said for women and children with AIDS in Africa.  So I politely said what about the people here that need help and she blew it off.  IF SHE ONLY KNEW!!!! 
LIFE is not a race to the grave with the intention of arriving safely
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Offline dtwpuck

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2007, 11:35:29 AM »
I can almost accept the protected ignorance of a soccer mom.  What really makes me scratch my head though is when a kid in a gay bar tells me that he's never met anyone with hiv.  Or, my two lesbian friends call me to help a buddy of theirs who just tested positive because they don't know anyone else with hiv.  I actually told them... yes, you do.  I can think of several people you know who are positive.  It's just amazing how deeply people put their head into the sand in order to avoid something unpleasant.

At any rate... a woman I work with recently was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She was talking about going to the doctor and having blood drawn etc etc etc.  I told her jokingly that I could pretty much tell the doctor exactly which vein to use and which one will fail.  She asked me what I could possibly know about being sick.  I looked at her and said, "you realise that I have been hiv+ for over a decade."  She stopped and looked at me, and said..."I feel like such as ass".   I hugged her and told her.. that I didn't tell her that to make her feel bad, but to let her know that I understand what it's like to be scared, and annoyed with doctors, and trying to keep it all together.     

Floating through the void in the caress of two giant pink lobsters named Esmerelda and Keith.

Offline Ihavehope

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Re: "I don't even know anyone with HIV"
« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2007, 11:48:39 AM »
Sometime people can be ignorant, like I was 3 years ago. Two of my supervisors are HIV positive and one was very open about it because to him it was very noticeable and the other one simply didn't talk about it. The one who was open about it was a 36 year old 5'3" 125lbs lean muscular built with severe wasting on the face. When I first met him I though he looked ugly and was old because his face looked quite wrinkled and damaged and my second guess was that he was using alot of drugs. When he said he was writing a book about his life being poz, I was a little shocked and then took a better look at him and then I it was clear to me. He is 36 but looks like he is in his late 40's and he had severe lipo. Another factor was that he was a former prostitute and used and still uses alot of drugs and alcohol so that definately contributed to him looking alot older than he was. Sometimes even when you have an appearance that is associated with the disease people don't know.
Infected: April 2005
12/6/06 - Diagnosed HIV positive
12/19/06 - CD4 = 240  22% VL = 26,300
1/4/07 - CD4 = 200 16% VL = ?
2/9/07 = Started Kaletra/Truvada
3/13/07 = CD4 = 386 22% VL ?

 


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