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Author Topic: So this is Christmas  (Read 5009 times)

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Offline UALaw77

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
So this is Christmas
« on: December 26, 2006, 03:34:26 AM »
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?

Offline suzieque

  • Member
  • Posts: 61
Re: So this is Christmas
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2006, 05:44:29 AM »

     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

Offline koi1

  • Member
  • Posts: 713
Re: So this is Christmas
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2006, 09:13:27 AM »
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

diagnosed on 11/20/06 viral load 23,000  cd4 97    8%
01/04/07 six weeks after diagnosis vl 53,000 cd4 cd4 70    6%
Began sustiva truvada 01/04/07
newest labs  drawn on 01/15/07  vl 1,100    cd4 119    7%
Drawn 02/10/07
cd4=160 viral load= 131 percentage= 8%
New labs 3/10/07 (two months on sustiva truvada
cd4 count 292  percentage 14 viral load undetectable

Offline rick21007

  • Member
  • Posts: 286
Re: So this is Christmas
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2006, 09:32:28 AM »
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

Offline scott609

  • Member
  • Posts: 5
  • Life is all about the journey.
Re: So this is Christmas
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2007, 01:19:37 AM »
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

Offline HIVworker

  • Member
  • Posts: 918
  • HIV researcher
Re: So this is Christmas
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2007, 04:34:42 PM »
Did you have sex with someone in June or July? Although your test was negative in August, you could have still been infected earlier and been in the window period for seroconversion. Sometimes if you test within 13 weeks of a sexual exposure you will test negative because you haven't seroconverted yet. It's where the window period comes from.

However, I guess it is a moot point.

R
NB. Any advice about HIV is given in addition to your own medical advice and not intended to replace it. You should never make clinical decisions based on what anyone says on the internet but rather check with your ID doctor first. Discussions from the internet are just that - Discussions. They may give you food for thought, but they should not direct you to do anything but fuel discussion.

Offline Andy Velez

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 23,890
Re: So this is Christmas
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2007, 08:41:38 PM »
UAL, I'm glad you have found your way to our site. Welcome!

Obviously this is a huge change in your life. Fortunately if and when you need them in the future, there are medications which can be very effective in keeping you healthy. It's essential that you connect up with a physician who knows HIV and with whom you can develop a good working partnership in keeping you healthy.

And gradually you will learn everything you need to know to stay healthy.

You're still going to be able to a good uncle/father to your nephews.

Remember that you're always welcome here to ask questions or to discuss anything that is on your mind.

This is a tough beginning for a New Year for you. We embrace you here and you are gradually going to see that HIV is an element in your life, but by no means all that your life is or will be about.

Cheers,         
Andy Velez

Offline Adonis

  • Member
  • Posts: 25
Re: So this is Christmas
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2007, 03:39:20 AM »
UALaw77:

Hey, we're the same age........

But seriously, I think you are remarkable to have handled these issues with so much strength. I'm glad that you have stepped back out into the sunshine and embraced it. Life is too short....and you are way too cute....

:-)

Offline wtgr

  • Member
  • Posts: 12
Re: So this is Christmas
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2007, 07:21:40 PM »
Hi UALaw,

You sound like you've got a good head on your shoulders and you seem very strong and settled in your approach. It is so lovely that you're taking care of your two nephews, and I'm sure you will be a good parent/uncle to them.

I had to laugh at finding comfort in changing the diaper but, as you said, hardly anything has changed.

Oh and by the way, there should be no implictions at all regarding an asymptomatic seroconversion; it's not all that uncommon.

I am sure you will find romance in due course.

Offline UALaw77

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
Re: So this is Christmas
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2007, 12:50:46 AM »
I want to thank all of you for your kind words of support.  I'm actually feeling greatly encouraged and am looking forward to getting a more detailed analysis when my first blood work comes back later this month.  I also wanted to share with you a private message I received from a member--a message of a decidedly different tenor.  Has anyone else received this kind of message?  Is it a violation of the terms of service?

chrisaable
Member
Offline
Posts: 0

(No subject)
Sent to: UALaw77 on: January 03, 2007, 11:57:24 PM
You have forwarded or responded to this message.      

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Read your whining on the AIDS community forums.  You sound like a typical shallow, dimbulb faggot,  UALAW...oh pleeeeease, just what the nation needs another lawyer.  And I love that line about "the desert being a place for relatively young, upwardedly mobile gay men.  LMAO! Could any single sentence summarize the vapidness and vacuosness of fag subculture?  Sounds like your AIDS diagnosis changed nothing, still shallow and superficial as all hell.  Nice to hear even in the depths of Alabama the fag culture is still the same.  And that pic of you, what is that from high school. Grow up!

Offline lydgate

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,022
  • Virgin, can't drive
Re: So this is Christmas
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2007, 12:55:32 AM »
Damn. That is a horrible, vicious message. Very sorry you received that. I'm sure the moderators will take appropriate action shortly. Jay

Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline Queen Tokelove

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,033
  • Smokey the Smurf
Re: So this is Christmas
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2007, 02:59:30 AM »
I'm sorry you had to get a message like that from someone in the forums. I hope you reported them to the moderators. That was very uncalled for. There are great people here. Pay that idiot no attention, I hope to hear more from you in the future.
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

The Royal Blog

Offline Andy Velez

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 23,890
Re: So this is Christmas
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2007, 04:31:13 PM »
No way is that kinda junk acceptable.

We're looking into it.

Stay tuned.
Andy Velez

Offline woodshere

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,477
  • ain't no shame in my game
Re: So this is Christmas
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2007, 04:40:28 PM »
Some people are just jerks, sorry about the pm.

What a great guy you are.  I am ready to move to Alabama!!!!! :)

Best to you in this New Year,
Woods
"Let us give pubicity to HV/AIDS and not hide it..." "One of the things destroying people with AIDS is the stigma we attach to it."   Nelson Mandela

Offline Ann

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 27,948
  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: So this is Christmas
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2007, 05:24:22 PM »
Hi UA, welcome to the forums.

I've banned this "chrisaable" character. Sorry you had to be subjected to that.

Just a note to everyone - if you receive anything like this via PM, please report it. We will not tolerate this kind of abuse. There's a post about PMs in the Living forum Welcome thread - check it out.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...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 aupointillimite

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,229
  • FUS DO RAH!
Re: So this is Christmas
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2007, 10:02:26 PM »
Not to hijack this thread, but I received an email from him a couple days ago.

It contained a bunch of insightful insults... mostly like the ones UALaw77 had to endure... I think he might be going around the forums looking for people to pick on. 

His email addy is the same as his profile name here, so if anybody gets anything from him... it's probably more of the same.
Your tastebuds can't repel flavor of this magnitude!

 


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