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So this is Christmas

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UALaw77:
I just tested positive 14 days before Christmas.  I must admit that I was completely taken aback as my test results in late August were non-reactive and I had exhibited no symptoms of seroconversion during the subsequent weeks.  The only reason I had even been re-tested so soon after a prior negative test result was that I had applied for a life insurance policy which required the test as part of the application physical.  The blood was drawn during the second week of November, which indicates to me that I was likely infected between August and November.

My initial response was numb disbelief.  How could I have exhibited no symptoms?  How could I have contracted it at all when all of my partners represented that they were HIV-?  How is it that the two guys with whom I had unprotected intercourse in September and October are both negative, even though they were both the receptive partners?  Could my results be in error?

The most heartbreaking part of the experience for me is that during the first week of November I moved from Michigan to my hometown in Alabama--leaving my job, my medical insurance, my income, my independent life, and my lovely 132-year-old home--so that I could adopt two of my nephews who are presently in the care of my 65-year-old mother.  My disbelief soon turned to profound sadness, shame, guilt (for having jeopardized the futures of the children), and disappointment in myself for my own poor choices.

Thankfully, my friends--gay and straight alike--have been overwhelmingly supportive, and I went through a few days of fatalistic resignation before stepping back into the sunshine.  I had to help my nephew with his third grade book report.  I went to bed and woke up the next morning to change the baby's diaper and otherwise attend to all of the mundane demands of the day.  I realized that hardly anything had changed and that life had continued pretty much as normal.  Who knew that a dirty diaper could be so comforting?

I had my first blood work done last week.  Because I don't have medical insurance yet, the blood work is being sent off to the state.  I won't know the results until January 15th when I talk to the infectious diseases specialist.  In the meantime, I've been vaccinated against the flu and pneumonia.  I'm exceedingly anxious to get the results, assess the situation, and start dealing with this new reality.  I still wonder: what is the implication of my asymptomatic seroconversion, if any?

My greatest concern is that this will be profoundly impact my romantic life in an adverse way.  Quite frankly, Small Town, Alabama is already a romantic desert for relatively young, educated, upwardly mobile gay men.  This new complication seems like a nuke in the desert.

Oh, well.  I will be strong.  What alternative do I have?

suzieque:

     Best wishes to you :) You sound wonderfully strong and caring. I understand what you said about dirty diapers, my daughter was still a baby when I was diagnosed and I really believe that being responsible and taking care of her took care of me!! Glad to hear that you have great support from your friends, that is a blessing for sure. My daughter is now almost 15 and I am in a wonderful relationship with someone who is my best friend and soul mate ( he is negative in case you are interested). Just to show that if it is the right person they won't care about your status, only about you!! I have had some negative responses over the years, and had to do some educating, but mostly people have responded surprisingly well. I still tell pretty much only on a need to know basis, and to really close friends, just my own personal choice.
         All the best to you for this coming year!!
                              Suzie

koi1:
Hey,

I hope things have gotten a little better. I know it will take time. It has for me and I just tested postive last month. Now that you know you can deal with it and more importantly take care of yourself so that you will be around for your niece and nephew. It seems like you are a strong person and have already started to see that your life is not ending but and adventure of parenting is beginning.

I think you reacted differently than I did. I was more in a state of numbness (still am but emerging). But then again, I am only responsible for me. The only thing that i wanted to do was protect my family from any pain in knowing that I had such an illness. I don't think it would have been the same if it were cancer, in which case I would probably have told them immediately. But then there is the shame factor
how i got it...my brother in-law's brother passed away in the early nineties when there was no hope. The whole family saw him suffer and die a slow death. I didn't want my family to think that is where I was headed. Inevitably part of my family found out. They have given me nothing but love and support.

I hope you have a lot of love and support. If not come see us.

rob

rick21007:
Hey----you have probably figured out by now, you are not alone.  I tested poz two weeks ago myself.  You described very well that initial sunami of emotions we pretty much all experience----the disbelief, the bewilderment, becoming disoriented about your whole life, the self-recrimination and the waves of fear.  But I agree you are strong and you must have a tremendous heart to welcome your nephews into your life, especially now.  I would not be surprised that your nephews maybe two angels in disguise sent to give you what you need to get through this.  What each of us needs to live with hiv is others.  Others to stand by us, others to be able to lean on when we need them, but maybe most of all, others to love.  I wish for you not just the courage to face life now, but the courage to hold on to your dreams and to believe that there is someone out there for you whose love is so strong, that not even hiv would be a barrier between you.

Peace, my friend,   Rick

scott609:
What a remarkable young man you are.  To be dealing with all this with such strength and grace.

That must be quite a sea change from Michigan to Alabama?  From blue to red state.  I wish you the best of luck.

I will keep you in my prayers.

Scott

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